Larracuente's two-year stint as varsity head coach ends
Boys' varsity basketball coach Orlando Larracuente was released today, March 1, according to Blair Athletic Director Dale Miller and James Short, Blair's administrator in charge of athletics.
Larracuente, the boys' varsity head coach for the last two years, was relieved of his duties as coach just three days after Blair lost its first-round playoff game to Quince Orchard. The team finished with a 4-17 record on the year, although Short insisted the losing record had no effect on the firing. "The reason we chose to go in another direction has nothing to do with the wins and losses," said Short. "We try not to apply pressure to any of our coaches."
Short said that Principal Phillip Gainous made the decision, which Short supports. "There's only one person who can let him go, and that's Mr. Gainous," Short said. "I don't question his decision and I know he'll make a good choice."
Junior guard Ross Williams said the team as a whole was upset to hear that their coach would not be returning. "We were mad when we found out because he's a good coach," said Williams. "We just didn't conform to his coaching style."
The basketball program has endured considerable turmoil this past season, losing four players — Noah Johnson, Matt McClain, John Orr and Chris Follot — during the season due to personal reasons and losing Williams for several games before he returned for the team's finale.
As for the hiring of a replacement for Larracuente, Short said that a committee will decide who becomes the next head coach. "Mr. Gainous will put together a panel that will recommend to the principal who the next coach should be," Short said.
Miller said that the team would wait until the end of the Maryland State Tournament before advertising that the school is hiring a coach. "We'll wait until March 11 and then see what's out there. We don't want to potentially interfere with coaches in the state who might still be playing this season."
Inside the school, assistant Emmanuel Charles is likely to take on a de-facto interim coaching role. As for trying to become Blair's next varsity coach, Charles said, "I'd like to be the head coach, but I personally don't think I'm ready for it." He did say that he fully intends to be back as an assistant for whoever coaches the team next year.
Larracuente, who posted a record of 8-36 in two seasons at Blair, will retain his position in the Physical Education department, according to Miller.
Larracuente declined to comment for this story.
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