By: Brandon Vickrey
Chicago, Ill. – Dec. 8, 2017 – After an impressive turnaround that saw the team go from missing the playoffs in 2016 to winning the MCL championship in 2017, the Southland Vikings have announced a new manager as they look to sustain success during the 2018 season.
Southland has hired St. Rita sophomore head coach Dave Letourneau to lead the team in 2018.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” he said. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about the organization and the league. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Letourneau, a Chicago native and St. Rita alum, played collegiately at Moraine Valley and Graceland and spent time as a graduate assistant at Graceland, which is in Iowa. After graduating from college, he became the head freshman coach at St. Rita and was promoted to head sophomore coach two years later. He’s now in his fifth year on staff with the Mustangs and his third year guiding the sophomore squad.
“My job is to develop players and make sure they’re ready for varsity baseball,” Letourneau said. “I think I’ve done a good job of developing freshmen into sophomores and sophomores into varsity players. That’s my goal. Every year, my job is to develop them and get them ready for the next year. I’m never satisfied with anything I do; every day I like to learn something different and there’s always something new I can bring to our players day in and a day out.”
The new Vikings manager works closely with St. Rita’s varsity staff, led by head coach John Nee.
“The staff at St. Rita has taught me so much since I’ve been there and it sure is a treat to be around,” he said. “I’m able to pick their brains and watch them work. They always seem to be a step ahead of the game and that will benefit me at a level like this.”
He’ll have an opportunity to learn something new with the Vikings, as his duties will include recruiting the team and aiding the development of players during an important step in their baseball journeys.
“I’m looking forward to recruiting the team,” he said. “I’ve talked to some coaches and I look forward to talking and communicating with coaches about talent. I’m going to look for kids who want to compete. I think it’s beneficial for players to come aboard this league because it gives them a chance to get a step ahead of everyone else.”
The Vikings have a long history of producing professional talent, including 2016 Milwaukee Brewers No. 5 overall pick Corey Ray. A founding member of the MCL in 2010, Southland won back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014 before adding its third league title in 2017 – the most among any active MCL team.
Letourneau is looking for the right players to uphold that winning tradition.
“I’m looking for baseball players who are committed to themselves as athletes,” he said. “I want players who want to succeed. I want kids who show passion and respect for the game. I also want players to want to get better every single day who are willing to grind day in and day out to make that happen.”
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