HCS boys soccer Coach Brian Latella during summer drills in 2012
One of HCS' most successful coaches and a man who became one of the most successful small school boys soccer coaches in the state won't be on the sidelines this fall as Brian Latella is leaving to take an administrative post in the North Country.
Latella, who started his teaching and coaching careers here, is expected to become the new principal at the elementary school in Lake Placid
. He said the district's school board is expected to approve his appointment next week.
His departure comes at a time of further change in the HCS boys soccer program. The HCS Board of Education approved allowing players from the Morrisville-Eaton Central Schools District to play for the Emerald Knights this fall. This will mean that HCS moves up to play a Class C schedule.
Latella, who started at HCS as a sixth grade teacher in 2001, had a career record here of 149-37-16 including coaching two Class D championship teams and one that was a runner up.
He also started his family in Hamilton. He met his wife Melissa, also an HCS teacher, here and their two sons were born at Community Memorial Hospital.
Latella's coaching career at HCS on the basketball court and not the soccer pitch. He coached modified boys basketball and before beginning to help Russ Duvernoy with boys soccer.
He became head coach in 2003 and in his first three seasons went 25-17-8. Then came one of the most impressive strings of soccer success for any high school in Central New York. Latella's teams won:
Section III Class D titles in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011;
Regional champions in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011;
State Class D champion runners up in 2010;
State Class D champions in 2008 and 2011.
During his time at Hamilton, Latella said he was fortunate to have some excellent -- and often times young -- soccer talent. Latella said that among the top players to take the pitch under his guidance were:
Dan Kraynak, who played five years for the Emerald Knights before going on to play for Hamilton College, where he just finished his sophomore year;
Drew Thompson, who also played for Latella as an eighth grader, and is now playing for Colgate;
Kinnon Nolan Finkle, who never played soccer before, and served as an outstanding keeper;
numerous players who graduated in 2009 including Tyler White, Nate Steward, Brandon Meeks and Alex Thompson.
and the five freshmen who started for him in 2003:Kyle Mason, Nathan Broedel, Paul Capatasto, Jeff Schindler and Devon Coleman.
Kraynak said his most memorable game with Latella was the 2008 state championship game vs. Chazy. HCS was down 3-0 and came back to win 4-3 in overtime.
"We felt like we may have been on the ropes, but he was cool, calm and collected," said Kraynak of Latella. "He mixed jokes and tactics during his half time talk and just kept telling us we could come back and we did."
Playing in a men's soccer league this summer and working at Hamilton College, Kraynak said of his former coach, "He was inspiring. He taught us we could have fun, work hard and be successful."
Aside from coaching, Latella also appreciates his time in the classroom at HCS. He taught sixth grade for seven years, then took over a fifth grade classroom. He was set to teach seventh and eighth grade math this fall.
Latella said he will miss Hamilton and HCS for many reasons, but he is also excited about becoming an administrator. He will oversee a building with some 300 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and be part of an entirely new administrative team.