Washington Academy of East Machias has filled head coaching vacancies in boys basketball, football and cheering, according to Blaine Steeves, the school’s athletic administrator.
Steve Pineo of Jonesboro has been named the Raiders’ boys varsity basketball coach, while Barry Terrill is the new football coach and Rebekah Cox takes over the varsity cheering squad.
Pineo, a veteran basketball coach at the high school and younger levels in the area, replaces Kenrick Liburd, who left after three seasons to become the women’s basketball and volleyball coach at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Washington Academy went 40-16 under Liburd’s watch, including 17-1 during the 2008-09 regular season — good for the No. 1 seed in Eastern Maine Class C. The Raiders advanced to the regional semifinals before being ousted by Stearns of Millinocket.
Pineo expects to adopt a fast-paced attack similar to that run during Liburd’s reign, but hopes to enhance the team’s ability to take care of the basketball through improved decision making.
“You won’t see a lot of changes,” said Pineo, a 1988 WA graduate who played and coached under former Raiders mentor Buddy Wood.
“Playing for Buddy Wood I absolutely learned the love for the game that I still have at this point. I was very fortunate to be able to learn from coach Wood.”
Pineo, who owns Coffin’s True Value hardware store in Machias, broke into the coaching ranks with the WA freshman boys basketball team from 1992 to 1995, then coached the junior varsity squad from 1995 to 2000.
More recently, Pineo has coached at Jonesboro Junior High School, both at the elementary and middle school levels, as he followed his sons up the ranks.
Next winter’s Washington Academy squad should be among the favorites again in Eastern Maine Class C, with as many as 10 returning players led by senior guards Ben Teer and Noah Von Rotz and senior forward Bryce Colbeth.
“We’ve got a lot of seasoned veterans, we should be very deep,” Pineo said. “And they’ve really been working hard.
“I think the disappointment they had in Bangor last winter seems to be motivating them. They’re playing a lot of basketball, they believe they have unfinished business they need to take care of.”
Terrill takes over the fledgling WA football program from Dan Welch, who recently was named principal of Boothbay Region High School.
Terrill, a health teacher at Washington Academy, was an assistant coach for the Raiders last fall after five years as an assistant at Orono. He also was head coach at John Bapst of Bangor for one season after a year as an assistant coach for the Crusaders.
Before coaching at John Bapst, Terrill was an assistant for two years at Orono, from which he graduated in 1997.
This fall will mark the third season of club competition for the WA program, which last season played a schedule that included several junior varsity opponents from the LTC Class C ranks, as well as rival club teams such as Erskine Academy of South China and Damariscotta.
This year’s schedule will be similar, with an additional game to be played against the first-year high school team from Hermon, Terrill said.
“We don’t have a feeder program, but we’ve got a core group of juniors and seniors who have played football for two or three years,” said Terrill.
The Raiders fielded between 25 and 30 players last fall, and Terrill hopes for a similar turnout this season.
“In the short team we want to continue to help the kids grow in their knowledge of the game and their football skills from year to year,” said Terrill.
As for the long term, Terrill hopes to help the program continue to grow and sustain itself to the point that it can be competitive on the varsity level. While there is no timetable for that step, Terrill believes establishing a youth feeder program will be pivotal toward achieving that goal.
Cox, a 2007 WA graduate and now a junior at the University of Maine-Machias, takes over as varsity cheering coach from Jodi Reynolds, who stepped down after one season.
Cox was on the cheering squad for all four of her high school years, and helped the Raiders win the state and Eastern Maine Class C championships during her senior season.
She served as the school’s junior varsity cheering coach last winter.
“I just couldn’t give it up, and coaching is a great way to stay in the sport,” Cox said.
SI.com honors Camden Hills
Camden Hills of Rockport, which won state championships during the 2008-09 academic year in such diverse sports as boys basketball and mountain biking, was selected as the top high school athletic program in Maine in a survey conducted by Sports Illustrated magazine’s Web site.
The Web site cited such factors as tournament results, a survey of athletic administrators, all-around success rates as well as weighing the importance of producing star athletes and teams at the national level, such as Olympic rower Anna Goodale in the case of Camden Hills.
SI.com selected winners for each state as well as the District of Columbia in its annual poll.