Mike Labrie resigned this afternoon as head coach of the boys basketball program at Springfield Central, he confirmed to ESPNBoston.com this evening.
The Golden Eagles have been a steady power the last few years under Labrie, including a second-straight appearance in the MIAA Division 1 West Final this past season. He'll most be remembered in his time at Central for the 2011-12 squad, which went unbeaten in the state of Massachusetts and won their first state championship since 1991, blowing out Brockton in the second half before a spirited crowd at Worcester's DCU Center.
Labrie, a Granby resident, has been a fixture on the Western Mass. basketball scene for over three decades. Prior to taking over the Central job in the fall of 2006, he spent 23 years as the head coach at Chicopee High. Nestled in between those reigns was a short stint at American International College, during the 2005-06 season.
In addition to his coaching duties, Labrie is a partner at Chicopee law firm Labrie, Pouliot, LaRocque & Guiel, P.C. He cited an increased workload at his firm as a contributing factor to his decision to step down.
Labrie announced his resignation in a letter drafted to Principal Thaddeus Tokarz, Assistant Principal Keith Worthy, and Athletic Director Michael Martin:
Tad, Mike & Keith:
It is with a great deal of trepidation and emotion that I inform you of my decision not to reapply for the position of boys varsity basketball coach at Central High School for the upcoming 2013-2014 season. Normally I reflect on my decision each year throughout the summer, however, I am confident that the time is right that I move on.
The evolving nature of the business of practicing law, specifically the challenging direction that my law practice has directed me (being senior partner of an extremely busy firm); along with the ever increasing rigors of coaching in today’s basketball culture, have left me no choice but to step down as your basketball coach at this time.
I have spent most of my life and all of my adult life dedicated to serving the youth of the community and it has been a tremendously rewarding experience. Coaching, at its core, is about relationships. I am extremely proud of the lifelong relationships I have developed with my former players; many of whom I count among my closest friends. My assistant coaches and the administration I have worked with, including the three of whom I address this letter to, have also become close friends and tremendous confidants.
As you know, my family has been of the utmost importance to me and it is my time to devote my all to them and my business responsibilities as my children pursue their college degrees and beyond.
I am proud of what we have accomplished at Central High School, especially beyond the league titles, Western Mass Championships and the 2012 Massachusetts State Championship. I hope, with your help, we have made a positive change to your school, your athletic program and the community at large.
Thank you for the opportunity.
Coach Mike Labrie