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LaRuffa resigns at FV

He steps downs as head coach of Barons, but will still be part of Fountain Valley coaching staff.

March 13, 2013|By Mike Sciacca

When the 2013 Sunset League baseball season opens Friday, it will mark the first time in 29 years that Ron LaRuffa has not led a league team into the title race.

LaRuffa resigned Feb. 12 as head coach at Fountain Valley. He guided the Barons for the past 15 years through league wars, taking them to seven Sunset League championships and CIF Southern Section crowns in back-to-back seasons, 1994-95.

Prior to Fountain Valley, he was the head coach at Edison for 13 years. He took four Charger teams to four league titles and his 1981 squad ended the season with a CIF Southern Section championship game appearance.

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Deric Yanagisawa, a former Baron was a coaching assistant to LaRuffa at Fountain Valley, is the new head coach of the Barons.

You might call it a title shift for LaRuffa: although he stepped down as head coach, he is still part of the Fountain Valley staff and coaches the defense.

"I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to take over the program," Yanagisawa said. "I'm excited and looking forward to the challenge of continuing the success of Fountain Valley baseball. No one will ever replace coach LaRuffa. He's built this program to what it is today. Coach LaRuffa has been an instrumental part of me being here and having this opportunity."

LaRuffa has been a head coach at the high school level for 31 years. It began in 1973 at Boron High, continued in 1975 at Colton and a year later, he took over the Edison job.

He also coached for 10 years at the collegiate level.

"I had been thinking about resigning and turning the program over to Deric [Yanagisawa] all year, LaRuffa said. "It wasn't a hasty decision. The wear and tear of 42 years of coaching had taken its toll. The head coaching duties of scheduling, fund raising and field maintenance — and other administrative duties, weren't fun anymore."

LaRuffa said he "delegated" many duties to his coaching staff in the past few years, and those duties remain the same. In addition to his coaching the Barons defense, Yanagisawa is in charge of the offense, assistant coach Chris Sorce works with the pitching staff, and assistant coaches Mark Wishek and Garret McFaul handle the outfielders and practice organization, respectively.

"I would not have resigned two weeks before the season if I didn't think this would be an easy transition for the players," he said. "Nothing has changed in practice or games, as far as the athletes are concerned. Our 6-0 start attests to that."

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