UMaine coach search committee begins discussing candidates

Posted April 13, 2011, at 8:53 p.m.

The search for a new head women’s basketball coach at the University of Maine has entered its second week.

UMaine Athletic Director Steve Abbott on Wednesday said the committee, which is being headed up by former UMaine dean Robert Cobb, has begun the process of reviewing applications.

“(Wednesday) was the first meeting where it sat down to discuss coaches and applicants as a group,” Abbott said. “The seven members have been reviewing candidates on their own.”

Abbott explained UMaine has already received approximately 35 applications for the position, which opened up March 29 when he fired former Black Bears All-American Cindy Blodgett after her teams posted a dismal 24-94 record over four seasons.

Abbott sat in on the first search committee meeting held April 6, during which it talked about the process of undertaking the search. Ever since, members have been poring over applications.

“They just started today sorting through them, comparing,” Abbott said. “They’ll be doing that for the next week or so. Then, they’ll begin the process of checking references and talking to candidates on the phone.”

Abbott pointed out the process remains open and that applications will continue to be accepted for the foreseeable future.

“We still have applications coming in. People are still applying,” Abbott said.

He explained that the process of screening applicants may even include interviews via Skype,  a service that allows people to have a two-way conversation that includes a live video feed.

“If it’s possible, what the video does is it makes the conversation easier,” Abbott said. “You can get a read on the person you’re talking to and it gives you a chance to read body language and for them to read yours.”

Abbott said there have been some impressive resumes submitted already and that UMaine remains a position that should give the committee a nice pool of candidates from which to choose the next coach.

“I think that people still perceive this as a good job,” he said. “It’s a program that has a great history and a great fan base.”

The UMaine search committee is made up of Cobb,  former UMaine basketball star Emily Ellis, former Friends of Maine Women’s Basketball President Evie Smith, professors Robert Strong and David Townsend and UMaine head coaches Scott Atherley (women’s soccer) and Josette Babineau (field hockey).

Basketball team members Samantha Baranowski, Samantha Wheeler and Brittany Williams, all of whom will be seniors next season, are serving as liaisons to the committee.

Mackey expected to join UMaine men

Ethan Mackey, a 6-foot-8 post player from Voorheesville, N.Y., is expected to be among the players who will join the UMaine men’s basketball team starting next fall.

While the Black Bears have not yet announced the list of players who have signed National Letters of Intent to play at UMaine beginning with 2011-12, Mackey is headed to Orono as a nonscholarship player, according to published reports quoting Antwan Morrison, his AAU coach.

Mackey, who is attending Northfield Mount Hermon in Massachusetts this year, missed part of last season with a knee injury. He chose UMaine over New Hampshire and St. Francis (Pa.).

As a senior at Voorheesville High during 2009-10, the lefthanded-shooting Mackey averaged nearly 20 points, 10 rebound and two blocked shots.

Players who have verbally committed to coach Ted Woodward’s UMaine program and who are expected to sign NLIs this week include 6-7 forward Kilian Cato of Finland, 6-2 combination guard Xavier Pollard, who is playing at the Winchendon School in Massachusetts, and 6-1 combination guard Noam Laish of Israel.

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