Only hours after the La Salle High girls’ basketball team dropped its second straight game of the Del Rey League season on Thursday, the program dealt with another loss.
School athletic director Anthony Harris confirmed that girls’ basketball head coach Kevin Cormier was let go Friday afternoon, with his head coaching duties now turned over to assistant Dana Huley.
Harris had no comment on the circumstances or reasons behind the firing of Cormier.
John Blackstock, La Salle Director of Communications, issued a brief statement on behalf of the school that stated La Salle and Cormier “have mutually agreed to discontinue their employment relationship.
Athletic Director Anthony Harris has appointed Dana Huley, from the coaching staff, to serve as interim varsity coach.”
Cormier did not respond to a call or text seeking a response.
Cormier replaced Lancers Coach Trisha Raniewicz after the 2007-08 season and led an instant hoops renaissance.
La Salle, which hadn’t posted a winning record in three previous seasons before Cormier, finished at least six games above .500 in each of his four-plus seasons as coach and tallied an 87-43 record (67% winning percentage) during his tenure.
The Lancers reached the playoffs in each of his four completed seasons, finishing with a 7-4 postseason mark, while winning two Camino Real League championships and advancing to the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section postseason three years, including the last two at the Division IV-A level.
It could be argued the Lancers entered 2012 with the highest expectations in the Cormier era as the team won 20 games in 2011-2012, the most for the program in at least a decade, and returned several key players.
La Salle finished the nonleague slate Jan. 5 with a 12-3 mark after defeating Notre Dame Academy, 50-43, with its only losses to Windward (16-0 record), Orange Lutheran (16-2) and Mark Keppel (15-3).
The Lancers, though, were moved up from the Camino Real League to the more challenging Del Rey League and were soundly defeated in their first two league contests versus Bishop Montgomery (70-48 score) and St. Bernard (84-49), two teams that have combined for a 31-8 record this season.
Harris said Huley, a La Salle alumnae from the class of 2005, will remain as interim coach for the remainder of the season and would be considered a possible candidate when the position becomes available at the end of the season.
Cormier’s departure came as a shock to even one of his one assistants.
“I was just talking to Kevin on Thursday about reviewing film and we were supposed to meet up Friday for practice,” Lancers assistant Kennon Rude said. “It was abrupt. I was told he was let go. No one saw this coming.”
Rude will remain on staff along with Huley and assistant coach Dave Moraga.
When asked for his understanding of why Cormier is no longer coaching, Rude said he was not at liberty to speak, only mentioning he was instructed to say, “it’s something that happened previously and is internally under investigation to see if it’s true or not.”
Rude did say about Cormier, “I’ll always be grateful to Kevin for the opportunity he gave me to join his staff as a kid right out of high school. He’s a wonderful man and wherever Kevin ends up going, they’ll have a wonderful coach.”