OLD TOWN — One of Eastern Maine’s veteran schoolboy basketball coaches has decided to retire.
Marty Clark, who guided the Old Town boys basketball team for 22 of the last 23 seasons, has opted not to return to the Coyotes next winter.
“The time factor is the main reason,” said Clark, who coached on the junior varsity level before taking over the varsity for the 1987-88 season. “I think a lot of people don’t understand that when you coach a basketball team, it’s another 20 or 25 hours a week in addition to your teaching schedule.
“I’ve loved coaching here, the administration, the parents and the players have been so supportive, but this is the right time.”
Clark compiled a 209-208 record during his tenure as head coach at his alma mater, where as a senior in 1980 he played on an 18-0 team that won an Eastern Maine Class A title.
“A lot of what we did on the court depended on the kids I had,” said Clark of his coaching style. “We played a lot of man-to-man defense and I’d like to think we were a team known for playing hard and diving for loose balls, but I tried to adjust to the personnel.”
Clark became Old Town’s junior varsity basketball coach in 1985, and two years later took over the varsity post, replacing Ed Taylor.
It wasn’t long after that when Clark guided Old Town to some of its greatest heights.
Old Town went 72-11 between 1990 and 1993, winning the Class A state championship in 1991 and reaching the Eastern Maine final again in 1993 after an undefeated regular season.
Old Town returned to the regional final in 1996, but the program eventually began to struggle as the school lost enrollment and became one of the smallest in Class A statewide.
Clark stepped down after leading Old Town to a 12-6 record in 2004, but then returned to the sidelines after a one-year hiatus.
He then guided the Coyotes’ basketball program through its transition to Class B, leading the team to winning seasons in two of his last three years on the sidelines.
Old Town went 12-6 last winter to place sixth in the final Eastern B Heal points. The Coyotes, featuring veterans Luke Bartlett, Josh Boucher and Bronson Merry, advanced to the regional quarterfinals before being defeated by Mount View of Thorndike.
“That was a good group of kids, they were very coachable,” said Clark.
Clark, who led Old Town to 11 postseason appearances, was named Big East Conference coach of the year last winter, marking the seventh time he received that award. He twice was selected as the Eastern Maine Class A coach of the year, and his teams won numerous sportsmanship awards.
“I’m proud of the relationships I’ve had with the kids over the years,” Clark said, “the good times we’ve had together, and the life lessons that have been learned.”
Clark, a social studies teacher at the school who plans to remain as the Coyotes’ tennis coach, is optimistic about the future of Old Town’s boys basketball program.
“I think there are some good people interested in coaching,” he said, “and we have some good, young players coming back. I think the program’s in good shape.