BANGOR, Maine — Sean Smith is the new boys varsity soccer coach at John Bapst Memorial High School.
The 31-year-old Smith replaces veteran Andy Frace, who stepped down from the post for family reasons.
“I’m definitely blessed to have this opportunity at John Bapst,” said Smith, who most recently coached soccer at Eastern Maine Community College. “And it’s not a situation where I’m going to have to rebuild, because coach Frace did such a great job of stabilizing this program.”
Frace had coached the Crusaders for the last four years, guiding them to an Eastern Maine Class B title in 2006.
Before that, he coached at Central of East Corinth from 1987 to 1993 and at Hampden Academy from 1995 to 2003. While at Hampden, he led the Broncos to Eastern Maine Class A championships in 1995 and 1998.
“I’ve had a lot of great teams and great kids,” Frace said. “And I still have great relationships with a lot of the kids I’ve coached.”
Frace said he’ll miss coaching the John Bapst team this fall, in part because of its potential.
“They took their lumps last year,” he said. “But they’ve got a good team coming back.”
Frace said he plans to continue as a subvarsity girls basketball coach at John Bapst next winter.
Smith, who has been John Bapst’s freshman boys basketball coach for the last two seasons, is a 1997 graduate of Hermon High School where he played goalie on the Hawks’ soccer team coached by current Bangor High assistant Don Erb.
Smith has remained active as a soccer, baseball and basketball coach through the years with the goal of landing a varsity job at some point during his career.
“This is a dream come true for me, something I’ve really been working toward,” said Smith, an account executive with Bangor television stations WVII (ABC 7) and WFVX (Fox 22).
A youthful John Bapst team finished just 3-8-3 a year ago, good for 12th place in Eastern B but out of the playoffs. The Crusaders have higher expectations this fall.
“This won’t be a case of reinventing the wheel,” Smith said. “We’ve got a good number of starters returning, and a lot of kids for whom soccer is their main sport.
“As a former goalie I’m a defensive-minded coach,” he added, “but with the returning midfielders and strikers we have we should be a strong offensive team, too.”
Basketball rule changes approved
Player safety and sportsmanship are among the topics of rule changes recently approved for the 2010-11 high school basketball season by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
One significant rule change in all sports requires that any athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion — including but not limited to loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion or balance problems — must be removed from the contest immediately and shall not return to play before being cleared by an appropriate health professional.
Two rules were added to address the issue of a player leaving the court for an unauthorized reason to demonstrate resentment, disgust or intimidation as well as to address team members leaving the bench or playing area for an unauthorized reason.
Sportsmanship will also be addressed in a point of emphasis recommending that players entering the court for pregame or halftime warmups not run through the opposing team’s warmup drill or under its basket.
“Proper sporting behavior is paramount in interscholastic sports,” said Mary Struckhoff, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Basketball Rules Committee, in a press release. “The NFHS membership and the high school community are generally happy with where the game is. The sport of basketball is in good shape, so the committee focused on sportsmanship issues first.”
An addition to an existing rule says when a substitute is not properly reported, the players in the game at the conclusion of the quarter or after the timeout was granted shall begin play for the new quarter or after the timeout has ended. Additionally, it notes that all team members are bench personnel for the purpose of penalizing unsporting behavior.
A complete list of all rules changes approved by the committee is available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.
Basketball is the second-most popular sport for girls (behind outdoor track and field) and third-most popular for boys (behind football, track and field) at the high school level, according to the 2008-09 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS, with 444,809 girls and 545,145 boys participating nationwide. The sport ranks first in school sponsorship of girls and boys teams with 17,582 schools sponsoring the sport for girls and 17,869 sponsoring the sport for boys.