The administration’s decision to lay off Bill Casavant as the athletic director at the University of Maine-Presque Isle last May is one of the primary reasons UMPI women’s basketball coach and sports information director Tracy Guerrette and UMPI men’s basketball and women’s softball coach Terry Cummings have decided to leave the school.
They resigned last week.
Guerrette had been at the school for four years and Cummings for three years.
Casavant was let go due to budgetary constraints.
Christine Corsello replaced Casavant. She is also the school’s dean of students.
“Bill was doing a fantastic job,” said Guerrette. “I liked where he was leading the department. He gave us credibility up here and throughout the state.”
“Not having someone who can just focus on athletics, someone who can mentor us, has been a real challenge for all of us,” added Guerrette. “Our athletic teams were turning the corner. Recruiting was good. Letting him go hurt our department as a whole.”
“Losing Bill’s mentoring has really hurt,” agreed Cummings. “(With Casavant at the helm) everything had been going well. Not having someone there all the time made things more difficult. And Bill is known throughout the state.”
Guerrette and Cummings said it was a trying year.
“I didn’t think the athletic department climate was conducive to further progress,” said Guerrette.
“I would certainly agree with that,” said Cummings, who had also previously coached the women’s volleyball team. “That is a fair and accurate statement.”
Corsello couldn’t be reached for comment.
“It’s time to move on. It’s time to do something different,” said Guerrette.
Cummings said it has “definitely been a hard process” that led to his decision to step down.
Both said they enjoyed working with fellow staff members and the student-athletes.
“I love teaching and coaching college-aged students,” said the 30-year-old Guerrette. “I love making a difference in their lives. It’s tough leaving my student-athletes.”
She said she also liked her sports information experience.
“That gave me a chance to work all of our student-athletes. I really enjoyed it,” said Guerrette. “It was a good fit for me. I developed a good understanding of every sport and I enjoy writing.”
“Leaving the student-athletes will be the hardest part for me,” concurred Cummings. “That’s really difficult. I developed some very good relationships. I continue to get calls asking me to reconsider, but it’s a done deal now.”
The 42-year-old Cummings is also stepping down as the manager of the Gentile Hall Fitness Center and the director of the health and wellness program. He set up workout regimens for faculty and staff.
Guerrette and Cummings are both Aroostook County natives.
Guerrette was a Bangor Daily News All-Maine first team selection at Wisdom High School in St. Agatha and went on to have an impressive career at the University of Maine, where she was elected a team captain her junior and senior years.
Cummings, a former BDN All-Maine third team selection at Houlton High, scored more than 2,000 career points at UMPI and is in the school’s Hall of Fame.
He had previously been the athletic director and boys and girls basketball coach at Greater Houlton Christian Academy.
Guerrette and Cummings would like to continue coaching somewhere.
“I hope something opens up. I’ve been doing this for close to 20 years. I want to stay involved with younger people,” said Cummings. “I’ve coached a lot of sports and I have a lot of experience. But the benefit of this is I’ll have the opportunity to spend more time with my family.”
In addition to coaching, Guerrette would also enjoy working in sports information or for the Roman Catholic church.
She is the youth minister in her parish and works with the diocese in the state of Maine. Missionary work has taken her around the globe, including Africa and Brazil.
Bunker earns lacrosse award
Colby College’s Craig Bunker has been named the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association’s Division III Specialty Player of the Year.
The Topsfield, Mass., native was one of seven Division III positional players to be honored by the USILA. He was honored for his outstanding faceoff and ground-ball abilities as a short-stick midfielder.
He finished the season ranked fourth nationally in faceoff percentage (.714) and 17th in ground balls per game (7.69).
He is the first Colby men’s lacrosse player to earn first team All-American honors and to be chosen an All-American three times.
He was also first team picks by the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association and New England Small College Athletic Conference.
Bates has two All-American rowers
Bates College’s Nora Collins and Rebecca Waldo were named first team Division III Pocock All-Americans by the College Rowing Coaches’ Association.
Waldo is a three-time All-American including a first team selection the past two years. She rows in the fourth seat for the varsity eight, which went 12-1 against Division III competition and is second in the CRCA/U.S. Rowing Division III national poll.
Collins is Bates’ first All-American coxswain.
Bates has been the national runner-up the past two seasons and will compete in the NCAA Division III Rowing Championships for the fifth straight year beginning Friday in Golden River, Calif.