Many high school sports statewide are supported by coaches’ associations that organize events and awards to recognize the best and brightest within their ranks as well as to boost the quality of play from Kittery to Fort Kent.
Baseball is no exception, bolstered by the Maine Baseball Coaches Association.
Among its more recognized efforts, the MEBCA helps organize the annual Larry Mahaney East-West Senior Classic baseball game, the Maine high school underclass game and the Maine-New Hampshire Senior all-star game each year, and has been involved in the selection of the Dr. John Winkin Award, symbolic of the state’s Mr. Baseball each spring.
The organization also recognizes outstanding assistant baseball coaches, and in the past has conducted coaching clinics.
“Right now it’s a group of coaches who are trying to promote the game in the state of Maine,” said Old Town High School baseball coach Dave Utterback, MEBCA vice president for Eastern Maine. “We’re getting all-star games going, getting kids recognized when they should be recognized and getting coaches recognized when they should be recognized. We want to give people the recognition they deserve for the hard work they put in on the field.
“Sometimes in the spring, baseball gets a little bit left behind, so we’re out there promoting the game.”
The MEBCA currently numbers approximately 60 members, primarily coaches from the state’s high school ranks, but Utterback says the organization is open to coaches at all levels.
“We want to add more membership through youth leagues, Legion, all those ranks and not just high school,” he said. “We’re trying to increase awareness out there and increase membership, letting people know what we’re trying to do.”
Maine Baseball Hall of Fame member Mike Coutts, currently the head baseball coach at Scarborough High School, is president of the MEBCA, while Lincoln Academy coach Greg Rice is the vice president for Western Maine.
“Mike Coutts does a great job of being the front person for us, he’s a guy who is well known so he’s a great guy to have at the top,” Utterback said. “And there are a lot of other guys who put in a lot of work for the organization, too.”
For more information on the organization, access the MEBCA website.