This week marks the practices before the practices for high school baseball teams around the state, with eight pitchers and two catchers on each team allowed to get a head start before full-team workouts begin next Monday.
This week also marks the debuts of several head coaches, some new to the high school ranks and others veteran of the interscholastic wars.
Brad Goody, a former standout high school and American Legion player from Old Town, has taken the varsity reins at Central of Corinth.
Goody has served as baseball coach at Leonard Middle School in Old Town for the last three years, and also has coached the Old Town Senior League all-star team as well as a year with the Zone 1 American Legion Orono Twins.
Central finished 6-10 last year as a Class B program, but will be returning to the Class C ranks this spring.
Several other coaching changes involve Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B programs.
Joe Nelsen Sr is now the varsity baseball coach at his alma mater, Rockland District High School.
According to Rockland athletic administrator Jim Leonard, Nelsen has coached a variety of youth sports teams in the city and has served as Rockland’s Babe Ruth baseball head coach for the last three seasons.
Nelsen also has been an assistant varsity baseball coach at Rockland for the last three years.
A 1989 Rockland graduate, Nelsen was on the mound as a senior when Rockland won its lone Class B state championship.
Rockland finished 9-7 last spring.
Richie Oliver, who coached Rockland for several years until stepping down in 2007, has taken over at neighboring Medomak Valley of Waldoboro.
More recently, Oliver had coached the Medomak Valley junior varsity squad under Rodney Genthner, who stepped down after last season.
During his tenure at Rockland, Oliver was the 2005 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B coach of the year.
Medomak Valley went 10-8 last spring while advancing to the Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinals.
Ty Kerr, a longtime assistant coach at Winslow, is now the head coach at Mount View of Thorndike.
Kerr and former Winslow head coach Robin Weed worked together for 15 years before leaving their posts after last season. The duo guided the Black Raiders to a 208-80 record with four Eastern Maine Class B championships and one state title in 1995.
Mount View is coming off a 2-14 season in 2009.
Replacing Weed at Winslow is Rusty Mercier, a former head coach at Noble of North Berwick.
Mercier coached the Knights for seven seasons before stepping down three years ago and relocating to central Maine. He led Noble to five postseason appearances, and was named Southern Maine Activities Association coach of the year in 2001 and that league’s co-coach of the year in 2003.
Winslow went 9-7 a year ago in Eastern B.
Mentoring women in sports
Kathy DeBoer, executive director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, will be the keynote speaker for the 12th annual “Mentoring Women in Sports Conference” to be held Friday at the Maine Principals’ Association office in Augusta.
DeBoer spent 23 years in intercollegiate athletics as a coach, administrator, and fundraiser. She spent 18 years at the University of Kentucky, finishing her career as the school’s senior associate athletics director.
Prior to her administrative career, she was head volleyball coach at Kentucky for 13 years and compiled a 212-96 record with three Southeast Conference championships. In 1987, she was named National Coach of the Year.
As an athlete, DeBoer played two years in the Women’s Basketball League, one of the first professional leagues for women in the United States. She played college basketball at Michigan State and was a finalist for the Wade Trophy, the highest award given annually in women’s basketball.
DeBoer is a nationally known speaker on the impact of gender on competitive behavior, and has written extensively on issues of competition, gender, and coaching.
After her keynote speech, DeBoer will moderate a panel discussion with several female college coaches from Maine on how their experiences playing for male and female coaches influenced their current coaching styles.
Other panel discussions will focus on how the different genders react to the media and public attention, as well as gender issues regarding officiating.
The daylong event is sponsored by the MPA and the Council of New England Secondary School Principals’ Associations. For more information, registration brochures are available at www.mpa.cc.