Wade Duplisea has stepped down after seven seasons as the boys varsity basketball coach at Stearns High School of Millinocket, according to school athletic administrator Chris Preble.
Duplisea said he wanted to spend more time with his family, including following a daughter who currently is playing AAU basketball with the potential for joining the high school program when she enters Stearns as a freshman next fall.
He also cited time conflicts between his coaching duties and his regular job as another consideration in his decision.
Duplisea, who played basketball at Stearns before graduating in 1987, guided the Minutemen to three tournament appearances during his head coaching tenure.
Stearns reached the Eastern Maine Class C semifinals during Duplisea’s first year on the bench in 2004, then advanced to the regional championship game in 2009.
This season Duplisea led the Minutemen to the No. 4 seed in Eastern C and a return trip to the EM tournament before Stearns dropped a hard-fought 54-52 quarterfinal decision to No. 5 Foxcroft Academy.
The Minutemen, who won just three games between 2005 and 2007, rebounded under Duplisea’s watch to compile a 39-19 record during his final three seasons with the team, including 14-5 this winter.
“I was very pleased with the way the kids responded,” said Duplisea. “We struggled for a while, but I had a lot of talent to work with the last couple of years.”
Four of the more influential women in the Maine interscholastic sports world were honored recently by the Maine Principals’ Association.
Margaret Veazie of Dexter Regional High School, Dodi Saucier of Orono High School, Susan Robbins of Yarmouth and Sybil Coombs of Wells were recognized as “Unsung Heroines in Maine Sports” during the MPA’s 12th annual Mentoring Women in Sports conference held in Augusta.
Nominations are sought from MPA member schools throughout the state each year to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to women’s sports in Maine.
Veazie, the longtime field hockey coach at Dexter as well as the school’s former girls basketball coach, has guided the Tigers to six field hockey state championships and seven Eastern Maine titles, as well as one state title and two regional championships in basketball.
But Veazie, a physical education teacher at the school, also has been involved in numerous other activities, including the creation of a dance class-program that serves up to 75 students at her school per year as well as the organization of several spring musicals.
“Like any great coach or teacher, Mrs. Veazie has that intangible ability to make kids believe it can happen, she brings the passion that is necessary to make it happen, and most importantly she can teach the skill sets that it takes to compete,” wrote Dexter principal Steve Bell in comments supporting Veazie’s nomination for the award.
“It’s a unique thing to watch a coach that can laugh with a team before the game, scream at them at halftime because they are not playing well and then cry with them in victory when it’s over.”
Saucier, a veteran field hockey coach at both Old Town and Orono high schools, is a 2006 inductee into the Maine Field Hockey Association Hall of Fame.
“There are not enough outstanding female role models mentoring our adolescent females in today’s society and we are blessed and comforted to know that our ladies have Dodi to not only learn the game of field hockey from, but also to learn about life,” wrote Orono athletic administrator Mike Archer.
“Her energy and value on life is so infectious to all of us here at Orono. She has a tremendous passion for the game of field hockey and has garnered the respect of field hockey coaches statewide.”
Robbins, athletic administrator at Yarmouth High School, is the first and only female certified master athletic administrator in the state. She also is the current president of the Western Maine Conference and past president of the Cumberland County Conference.
“Susan is a visionary leader who moves her athletic programs forward with the focus always being on the student-athlete,” wrote Gray-New Gloucester athletic administrator Melanie Craig. “In a profession that is largely dominated by men she has been a pioneer helping to lead the charge for change in this arena.”
Coombs began her career as the cheering coach at Wells in 1976, and has coached both fall and winter cheering teams since then, often leading multiple teams during a season.
In 1999, Coombs and the Wells cheerleaders established “Cheers from the Heart,” a charity event that has raised more than $105,000 for local charities and children in need.
“The event continues to grow and has given athletes, coaches and fans an opportunity to have some fun while giving back to their communities,” wrote Wells athletic administrator Jack Malloy.
“[Coombs] works to organize and maintain such a positive event year after year and to give so much back to those in need has made her a hero in our community.”
Previous Eastern Maine recipients of the award include Sharon Baker of the Samuel L. Wagner Middle School in Winterport, Tracie Martin of Narraguagus High School of Harrington, Lori Frost of Orland Consolidated School, Ruth Fitzpatrick of Searsport High School, and Lisa Richards of the William S. Cohen School in Bangor.