Saint Dominic Academy new boys basketball coach Josh LaPrell talks to his team during Tuesday morning’s practice in the gym at the Auburn campus. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

When Saint Dominic Academy athletic director J.P. Yorkey realized that Ken Poulin would be leaving his position as the school’s boys basketball coach, he released the news and immediately received seven ‘quality’ applications. 

At the top of the pile of applications was Josh LaPrell. 

Saint Dominic Academy’s new boys basketball coach Josh LaPrell. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LaPrell spent five years with the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA basketball program before spending six years as an assistant coach for the Bates College men’s team. The past two years he has been with Lewiston High School girls basketball program, first as an assistant to Lynn Girouard, and then a year at the helm of the Blue Devils’ JV squad. 

All the assistant coaching was a great experience for LaPrell, obviously, but he had bigger aspirations. 

“I am very excited,” LaPrell said. “I’ve looked at having my own program for three or four years, and this was a great fit. I live in auburn, five minutes away. That was certainly part of the appeal. I don’t want to travel to Cheverus or Mt. Ararat, so to be literally five minutes away is fantastic. I can build it how I want to build it.”

LaPrell has gained experience after experience, and Girouard knows that the Saints are getting a coach who knows how to relate to players of all ages. 

“The adjustment to high school girls was pretty good,” Girouard said. “He worked with kids that age for quite a while, he’s knowledgeable of the game, great relationships with the kids, they all liked him and he was a great help to me. They’re getting someone who is super knowledgeable about the game, enthusiastic with the kids, create a lot of excitement, especially on the sidelines.” 

Poulin left St. Dom’s for a teaching position in Windham.

LaPrell takes over a team that is bringing back nearly the entire roster from last season. While the Saints of 2018-19 only won twice, losing only two seniors should benefit LaPrell has he works to grow the program. 

LaPrell was hired Thursday and sent out summer basketball information Friday. He had 10 kids show up for practice Tuesday, seven from the varsity team and three middle schoolers. 

“They’ve been talking to the others,” LaPrell said of the players that attended practice Tuesday. “I sent the info out last Friday, so I was pretty pleased. I am hoping it keeps growing. They are enjoying it, working hard and they have great attitudes …

“It’s a pretty relatively young team, which is also exciting. It’s not where you go in with a lot of seniors and have to replace them, so we can build and get better with two, three and even four years.”

LaPrell added that he will be gaining one player next week after a trip to Florida, and another, hopefully soon, who had agreed to work over the summer under the assumption there wouldn’t be a summer program prior to the hiring of LePrell. He hopes more players come out so that St. Dom’s can get a head start in growing as a program. 

“Right now, it’s just me, this summer it’ll just be me,” LaPrell said. “We are looking for a middle school coach. It might be something where it turns into an assistant with varsity, and if the numbers are high enough maybe we have a JV team. I’m hopeful that if it’s not this year, then next year we will have a JV team.”

Saint Dominic Academy’s new boys basketball coach Josh LaPrell talks to his team during Tuesday morning’s practice in the gym at the Auburn campus. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Coaching at Bates, LaPrell learned how to dig deep into players who might not be highly recruited and make them standouts. Head coach Jon Furbush taught LaPrell about player development and getting the most out of a player. 

“Coach Furbush really ran some great practices and competed and got better,” LaPrell said. “He had different ways to get better in the gym.”

LaPrell’s tenure at the college level was an enticing factor for Yorkey as he combed over resumes. 

“Josh has a good blend of college, his and player youth development experiences,” Yorkey, who also is the St. Dom’s girls basketball coach, said. “He’s got his background, particularly at Bates under John Furbush, and has a good knowledge of the game. He’s a patient coach. He can see where the kids are at. He’s got good vision, see our program and our location and see what he can be.

“We think it’s a great hire and we are very excited. … His references were outstanding, Furbush really recommends him. That NESCAC conference is terrific. Six years over there is like eight to 12 in high school.” 

St. Dom’s has never been a basketball factory like the other Auburn high school, Edward Little, from which LaPrell graduated in 2000. But LaPrell expects to get the best out of what St. Dom’s has during the growing process. 

“It’s like I told the kids how it was when I was at Bates or Lewiston,” LaPrell said. “There are going to be games where other teams are just better than you, we are better than the other teams and then there are 50-50 games. If we can win some of the 50-50 games, we will be in good shape.”

Saint Dominic Academy new boys basketball coach Josh LaPrell talks to his team during Tuesday morning’s practice in the gym at the Auburn campus. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

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