Casavant’s still upbeat after job cut

Posted May 25, 2010, at 10:14 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 03, 2010, at 2:19 p.m.

Bill Casavant’s cell phone isn’t ringing off the hook. He can now have a quiet dinner with wife Daryl without interruption.

Casavant recently learned that the University of Maine-Presque Isle had let him go as athletic director after two years due to budgetary constraints.

But if Bill Casavant is one thing, he is resilient.

He has overcome a life-threatening health scare, saying “it turned out to be less than they thought it was.”

He has worked in athletics and/or admissions for nearly 40 years and is in his 40th season as a baseball umpire.

He took the news in stride.

“I was surprised, to say the least,” said Casavant on Tuesday. “I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the opportunity to complete the job I was hired to do.

“The program is certainly on its way. Our credibility has gotten better. We’re playing Bowdoin, Bates and Colby in different sports next year. They wouldn’t have played us three years ago,” said Casavant, who will turn 63 in August.

“It was important to get our credibility back so we can play some of those teams. It helps our recruiting,” said Casavant.

“I’m really pleased with what we have done in two years,” he added.

Casavant will readily admit that the job consumed a lot of his time, even during the summer.

“I had very few days off,” he said.

UMPI is part of both the NAIA and the NCAA (Division III school) and sponsors 12 sports. So they had to comply with two sets of guidelines.

He is very proud of the coaches and how they have raised the competitiveness of their respective programs. UMPI certainly has geographic drawbacks and doesn’t offer athletic scholarships.

“The staff has worked extremely hard to accomplish what they’ve accomplished,” said Casavant who tried to be supportive and accommodating.

For example, when baseball coach Leo Saucier had an eight-game spring trip to the south snowed out, he told Saucier to see if he could schedule some games in the mid-Atlantic states. Saucier was able to do so and the team managed to go on its trip after all and play five games.

The news wasn’t all bad for Casavant.

It will be the first time he has had an entire summer off “since I was 14-15 years old.

“I’ve got a million projects at home. I’ll work around the house and regenerate my batteries,” said Casavant, who will also find time to hit a golf ball.

“I’ll sit back and see what happens in the future,” said Casavant, who has a pension.

He will also have time to visit his three sons, two of whom are state troopers, and seven grandchildren.

Casavant, a native of Holyoke, Mass., played three sports at UMPI, married a Presque Isle girl and is happily entrenched.

He has always been a classy, easy-going man who is well-respected and well-liked.

He has worked and coached at Limestone High School, Northern Maine CC and UMPI.

He is also still umpiring.

“I enjoy being involved in the game and working with the other guys on the [Northern Maine Board of Approved Baseball Umpires]. After a long winter, it’s nice to get out,” said Casavant, the board assigner.

He will begin his fourth season as the assistant boys basketball coach at Caribou High School under his son, Chris, a job he thoroughly enjoys. Chris, an umpire for 20 years, and Bill have also umpired several Eastern Maine and state title games together.

“It’s very neat,” he said.

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