Greg Stone, who was the first head hockey coach at Orono High School in 1984, will be coaching against the Riots this season after being named the new coach at Bangor’s John Bapst High School.
Stone replaces Gene Fadrigon, who led the Crusaders to a 16-2 record and their first-ever top seed in the Eastern Maine Class B playoffs. The Crusaders were upset by fourth seed Presque Isle 5-1 in the semifinals.
Fadrigon stepped down because he was tired of dealing with the negativity and meddling of a small minority of the parents.
“I’m really excited about [the new job],” said the 62-year-old Stone, who recently retired as the dean of students at Castleton State College (Vt.) and used to be a hockey referee. “I was telling one of the [John Bapst] boosters that this will be the first time in my life that I’ll be able to just coach. I can just focus on hockey.
“I’ve learned a lot since I first started a long time ago, both about how to work with young folks and about the game of hockey. It’s way different than it used to be,” added Stone, who spent three years as the head coach at Orono High while he was working at the University of Maine.
The Needham, Mass., native, who earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation administration from UMass and a master’s in education and counseling from the University of New Hampshire, said he is looking forward to the challenge.
“I want them to grow as hockey players and as young folks. If they’re looking at it as a ticket to someplace else [for college hockey], that’s good. But if it’s just something they really enjoy doing, that’s good, too,” said Stone who worked at Colby-Sawyer College (N.H.) and Daniel Webster (N.H.) before going to Castleton State.
He said he is used to dealing with athletes and parents and said it will be important to set “realistic expectations” for each of his players.
Stone and wife Lil, who live in Lamoine, have two sons who were both multi-sports athletes at Orono High: Mitch and Ryan. Ryan is the assistant women’s hockey coach at Colgate University and Mitch is an assistant soccer coach at the University of Rhode Island.
Stone’s most recent coaching stint was as the women’s head coach at Castleton State College in 2007-2008 where he led the Spartans to a 5-16-4 record. He was the head men’s coach for the Spartans in their first two years of existence, 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. The men were winless.
John Bapst athletic director Rick Sinclair is pleased to have Stone on board.
“I’m excited. As late as we are [naming a new coach], we’re pretty fortunate to land someone with a background in student relations and hockey,” said Sinclair. “He came across as a real strong candidate.”
He will be John Bapst’s third head coach in three years and Sinclair said he’s hoping Stone will provide a “continuity” to the program.
“He has assured us he can make a [multi-year] commitment,” said Sinclair.