How do you sum up a career that spanned 33 seasons and included 491 wins?
In truth, it’s almost impossible to measure the impact retiring St. John’s Prep baseball coach Pat Yanchus had on both baseball on the North Shore, the Eagles’ program and on scores of young ballplayers that took the field for him.
A math teacher and assistant football coach at St. John’s for many years, Yanchus led his baseball team with a calm demeanor. His players never saw him panic or overreact to something on the diamond, and as a result they remained relaxed, yet focused. By letting his players play, he helped them all reach their potential.
“His style really worked for us. There were never any differences between players and everyone was locked in,” said Tommy Buonopane, one of this year’s captains. “He always made it fun, too.”
The Eagles sent Yanchus out with one of the best seasons in school history. The Prep went 22-2, setting a program record for both wins in a season and for a single-season winning streak at 22. The team learned early in the season that their coach would retire at the end of the year and made it a rallying point throughout the season.
“A big thing for us was winning the Catholic Conference title,” said assistant coach Dan Letarte, who played for Yanchus and coached with him an various levels for 18 years. “Winning our last road games at a lot of those places was big. We wanted to make those last bus rides homes happy ones for him; make those happy moments.”
Yanchus’ Eagles were always among the most dangerous teams in the state tournament in any given season. St. John’s qualified for the postseason in each of his last 18 seasons, amassing a 49-16 postseason record in that time.