One of the most familiar faces in the Eastern Maine schoolgirl coaching ranks has resigned from one of his posts.
Ron Weatherbee, who has had a successful run coaching girls basketball and softball at Lee Academy, is not coaching the Pandas’ softball team this spring.
Vanessa Michaud, a 2004 graduate of Brewer High School who played softball for the Witches, is coaching Lee’s softball team.
Weatherbee, 55, who has also stepped down from his mathematics teaching post at Lee, said the school’s retirement policy forced him to relinquish one coaching job.
“You’re cut off at 90 [days] before it affects your retirement, and any coaching counts as 60 days, whether its minimal time, or basketball or football or whatever, so that counts as 60 days,” Weatherbee explained. “Therefore, you can’t coach two sports, so I decided to get done with softball.”
Weatherbee is still a busy man this spring, as he’s the parks and recreation director in Lincoln.
But the decision to relinquish a teaching and coaching post wasn’t an easy one.
“It was difficult all the way around to get out of teaching and take this job of recreation director, and also to get done coaching a sport,” Weatherbee said.
Weatherbee has been coaching basketball at all levels for 31 years, with his first varsity job with the Lee boys in 1990.
After four years, he coached the boys at Mattanawcook Academy for 10 years, and has coached the girls at Lee the last six winters, a job he’ll continue.
His basketball and softball teams have been successful over the years, as the Pandas won regional Class D championships in softball in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007, with a state championship in 2006.
In basketball, the Pandas were crowned EM Class D champs in 2004, 2005 and 2007, while winning state titles in 2005 and 2007, and Lee subsequently won a state crown in Class C in 2008.
Weatherbee has mentored some outstanding athletes, among them Shelby Pickering, Aarika Ritchie and Amanda Gifford. Of all the teams he coached, the 2006 state champion softball squad brings back some notable memories.
“The fact they were battlers. We were down in some games and we’d get behind and they’d continue to battle,” Weatherbee said. “They fought rather than concede.”
Even though the 2010 Pandas had a 1-8 record heading into Monday’s play, Weatherbee thinks Michaud will do a great job coaching Lee’s softball team. She served as an assistant under Weatherbee last spring.
“The kids like her, they seem to be playing hard for her,” he said. “She seems to be very involved in coaching, she has a good background in softball.”
Rivals raise money
The Bangor and Brewer softball teams combined efforts Friday at Coffin Field in Brewer to raise funds to battle cancer.
“We were really happy with it,” Brewer coach Skip Estes said. “This is something the girls wanted to do. This is a team-building thing.”
Approximately $634 was raised during the game, won by Bangor 5-0, according to Brewer assistant coach Deidra Davis.
Honorary bat girls Alexa Stanhope and Delaney Davis, daughters of Bangor coach Don Stanhope and Brewer’s Deidra Davis, respectively, walked around the ballpark during the game with buckets seeking donations.
In addition, baked goods, such as cupcakes with pink frosting, were given away in exchange for donations.
During warmups, the Rams and Witches wore pink T-shirts with their logos on the front and “Swing for a Cure” on the back.
“The girls picked Bangor because they knew there’d be a big crowd from Bangor and they knew that there’d be a lot of people here, and we thought this was a great time to do it,” Estes said.
Frye completes tough double
The 400-, 800-meter double is one many track and field gurus consider grueling, but Hampden Academy senior Darik Frye conquered it in a meet in Ellsworth last week.
Frye won both races going away, taking the 400 in 50.63 seconds while coming back to claim the 800 in 1 minute, 56.98 seconds.
Those marks are good for best in the Penobscot Valley Conference, while Frye’s 400 time is also tops in the state this season.
Frye also held the top mark in the 800 until Greely’s Mark McCauley posted a 1:53.4 Friday.