March 28, 2011

Wheaton names Letourneau new head coach

NORTON, Mass. - Wheaton College Associate Director of Athletics John Sutyak '00 has announced the hiring of Craig Letourneau as head women's volleyball coach, effective August 15, 2011.  Letourneau replaces Ben Read, who resigned after five seasons with the Lyons.

"We are very pleased to welcome Craig to the Wheaton athletics family," said Sutyak.  "His success in rebuilding the women's volleyball programs at Rhode Island College and most recently at Emerson College, as well as his strong work ethic and enthusiasm, made him the right person to take Wheaton women's volleyball to the next level and start competing for conference championships."

A veteran head coach at the Division III level for the past nine years, Letourneau spent the last four at Emerson, where he guided the Lions to an 89-38 record and a trip to their first NCAA Tournament in 2009.  Leading Emerson to a school record in wins that fall at 30-7, he steered the Lions to their initial Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) regular season and tournament titles.  The 2009 GNAC Coach of the Year, Letourneau also coaches Emerson's men's volleyball program.

"I am beyond excited about this opportunity to make Wheaton women's volleyball one of the top programs in New England," said Letourneau.  "Wheaton is a great school academically and athletically and plays in one of the best athletic conferences in the country.  Hopefully we can jump right in and attract student-athletes who have a great passion for the game combined with the knowledge that a great education is key to success in life."

Prior to his Emerson appointment, Letourneau was a part-time head coach at Rhode Island College, his alma mater.  From 2002-06, he directed the Anchorwomen to an 86-75 mark, improving the team's win total during each of his first four seasons.  Rhode Island College shared the Little East Conference (LEC) regular season crown in 2004 and advanced to the league tournament title match in 2006, both program firsts.  Letourneau also served as an assistant women's basketball coach.

"I look forward to the season and developing a trust with the current players while motivating them to work hard to improve their skill and also their belief that they can win," added Letourneau.  "Having a competitive team exudes excitement on campus and gathers a great fan base for matches."

Letourneau began his coaching career at the high school level, working as the head boys' and girls' volleyball coach at Mount Saint Charles Academy in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, for four years.  He led the boys to a state title in 2001 and the girls to a state runner-up finish that same year.  Letourneau was named coach of the year five times, including on four occasions for the girls.  He also was a successful girls' basketball coach for seven years at Lincoln High School, winning a state title in 2005.

Earning a bachelor's degree in psychology from Rhode Island College, Letourneau is a 2000 graduate.  A personal trainer since May 2005, Letourneau has certifications from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

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