THORNDIKE, Maine - With less than two weeks before the start of preseason high school football practices, the final head coaching vacancy in Eastern Maine has been filled.
Jack Brady, for the last 14 years an assistant varsity coach and junior varsity coach at Belfast Area High School, has been hired as the new varsity football coach at Mount View High School.
Brady replaces Ron Simmons, who resigned last spring after guiding the program through four seasons of developmental play before leading the Mustangs during their varsity debut in the LTC Class C ranks last fall.
Mount View finished 0-9 in its inaugural season, but graduated just seven players off its 38-man varsity roster.
“This is a tremendous challenge,” said Brady, a Belfast resident who coached youth football in his native Florida before moving to Maine 14 years ago.
“It’ s only in its second year as a varsity program and a lot of good things already have been done there, but there’ s still a lot to do.”
Approximately 40 players have signed up to play football at Mount View this season, though Brady won’ t be able to meet with them until the first day of practice on Aug. 18 because the two weeks before preseason practices begin for fall sports are deemed a hands-off period for coaches by the Maine Principals’ Association.
“There’ s no opportunity to get to know the kids or evaluate talent yet,” said Brady, “but we’ re going to make the best of the situation. I know I’ m excited about the opportunity, I can’ t wait to start double-sessions.”
Brady believes Mount View will return good size along the line of scrimmage, which plays into his background as a line coach at Belfast.
“It absolutely starts up front,” he said. “If you can’ t block, tackle and pass-protect, you’ re going to struggle.”
Brady said he and assistant coaches Steve Shaw and Bill Brosseau don’ t expect to make major changes in how the Mustangs play the game this fall, in part because of his late hiring.
“I don’ t want to upset the apple cart,” he said. “So we’ ll keep things close to what the kids already know.”
Mount View will play its home games again this season on turf familiar to Brady — at Belfast High — while construction continues on a new Mount View High School next to the current building.
“We’ re hoping that at this time next year we’ ll be able to play on our own field,” he said.
And that’ s just one more component of the gradual growth of the fledgling Mount View program, growth its new coach hopes also is evident in the team’ s quality of play this fall.
“I’ m very anxious for the season,” Brady said. “I believe we can win a few games and do some good things, and really start to build the program.”