ORONO — Willie Gavett has stepped down after two seasons of his second stint as the boys varsity basketball coach at Orono High School.
“I wanted to take the program in a certain direction at a certain speed,” said Gavett. “I wanted to go a hundred miles an hour, and others wanted to go 45, but that’s their prerogative. I have no hard feelings. I had a good experience.”
Playing without a senior on the roster, Orono went 2-16 this winter in Eastern Maine Class C.
“We were very young, but I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids and the parents were very supportive,” said Gavett. “And from where we started this season to where we finished was a huge turnaround.”
The 62-year-old Gavett was hired to take over the program in June 2009 after Ben Goodwin ended a six-year tenure with the Red Riots to become the boys varsity coach at Class A Brewer.
Orono finished 5-13 in its first season under Gavett.
Gavett previously coached the Red Riots from 1989 to 1992, compiling a 47-31 record during a run highlighted by the Eastern Maine Class B championship in 1991.
A 1967 Orono High School graduate, Gavett led the Red Riots’ basketball team to the 1967 Class L (now Class B) state championship and subsequently was named to the Bangor Daily News All-Maine first team.
Football rule changes announced
A change in the definition of a chop block in high school football, and a strong emphasis on the use of a helmet to minimize the risk of injury, were the highlights of the recent meeting of the National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rules Committee.
The new definition of a chop block is “a combination block by two or more teammates against an opponent other than the runner, with or without delay, where one of the blocks is low (at the knee or below) and one of the blocks is high (above the knee).”
Previous language defined a chop block as “a delayed block at the knees or below against an opponent who is in contact with a teammate of the blocker in the free-blocking zone.”
Bob Colgate, an NFHS official, said any combination block where one block is high and one block is low will constitute a chop block — with or without delay between the blocks. He also said a low-low combination block is no longer a chop block.
Although not an official rules change, the committee stressed its 2011 points of emphasis on concussions, helmets and contact above the shoulder.
Last year the NFHS implemented new guidelines for the management of a student-athlete exhibiting signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion. In addition, the NFHS developed a free online course, “Concussion in Sports — What You Need to Know,” which has been viewed by more than 135,000 persons.
“The committee chose not to change many of the playing rules as it intends to ensure the continued focus on minimizing risk of injury to high school football players,” said Julian Tackett, chairman of the NFHS Football Rules Committee and commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association in a statement. “The minimal number of rules changes in high school football this year verifies that the country feels like the game is in great shape.”
In other rules changes, the committee standardized the rules regarding the replacement of apparently injured players, players who exhibit concussion signs and symptoms, and players who are bleeding or have blood on their body or uniform.
Players removed in any of these situations must leave the game for at least one down, and the time-out is an officials’ time-out, not one charged to the team.
Football is the No. 1 participatory sport for boys at the high school level nationwide with 1,135,052 participants during the 2009-10 school year, according to the High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS through its member state associations. In addition, the survey indicated there were 1,350 girls who played football in 2009-10.