June 22, 2018
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Greater Bangor needs new coaching academy


I couldn’t help thinking recently about the ideal fit for a public school in high school basketball coaching when I saw the name of longtime coach Carl Parker on my Bangor Daily News sports page as a recent hire for the vacant boys varsity basketball coaching job at Nokomis Regional High School in Newport.

Statewide, school administrators are scratching their collective heads, trying to fill these vacancies, looking left and right for just the correct combination of traits, which will serve their school districts well, heading into the winter months.

Parker arrives at the Newport-based school with all the right moves, if you will, every district looks for: Professionalism, experience, a proven track record, and class.

Parker brings to the table just what administrators look for, and he has a winning record to boot. He has served the district well in other capacities. It appears to be a perfect scenario for all parties involved.

Problem is, for other schools seeking coaches this spring and summer, that winning formula Nokomis has is not always that easy to find.

So, what’s a school district to do, when the pieces don’t fall into place, and a job is still open?

Spend a little time perusing the athletic want ads in this newspaper, and you’ll quickly find out that there aren’t a lot of Carl Parker-types applying for the so-called visible coaching jobs popping up statewide this time of the year.

For the most part, gone are the days when superintendents of schools can align a teaching opening with a varsity coaching position.

Often times, teachers give up a coaching job to devote more time to family — which is a good thing — but maintain their teaching position, leaving principals and supers with a huge hole in their extracurricular staff.

Athletic administrators often scramble for just the right fit. Even the recent coaching certification process in Maine hasn’t completely solved the problem.

Today, I propose the time has come for the establishment of a Coaching School somewhere in the greater Bangor-Orono area.

No, those graduates don’t necessarily have to be future teachers. No, education doesn’t have to be these graduates’ goal.

What needs to be done is to make this a master’s degree beyond a bachelor’s-level undergraduate study.

Think about it. What a wonderful thing this could be.

Someone more intelligent that I am at Husson University or at the University of Maine in Orono could devise such a school that would bring in those who wish to coach at the high school level, and offer a certifiable group of studies, then award degrees.

Numbers are down in the applicant pool — sometimes, embarrassingly low — and it’s time to make these jobs more palpable financially. Perhaps a more concrete job with a degree that will enhance all of these young people would be just the ticket.

The time is now to pursue such an idea.

30-Second Time Out

With Father’s Day on the horizon June 21, thoughts turn today to requests from the kids and my wife Shelly about what I might like to see at the dinner table for the old man — me — that day.

I think others might like this, too.

A new sports book by longtime Boston Celtics star Bill Russell, “Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend,” is getting rave reviews on a variety of best-selling lists. Russell, my first real hero, has put together, according to experts, a number of stories about Hall of Fame coach Arnold “Red” Auerbach that are right up Celtics fans’ alley.

I’m looking forward to receiving it — hint, hint.


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