ORONO — Just one week ago, former University of Maine women’s basketball player Tracy Guerrette was wondering what her future held as she finished up duties as UM-Presque Isle’s women’s basketball coach and sports information director.
She didn’t have to wonder very long as a chance phone call with new UMaine women’s basketball coach Richard Barron led to him offering her a new staff position as Black Bears director of women’s basketball operations.
“Last week, I kind of posed the question offhand if he might create a director of operations position because I’d looked around at different programs with job openings and programs and was wondering if he might create that at Maine,” said the 30-year-old Guerrette, who attended the press conference introducing Barron as the new head coach and told him she’d love to work with the program. “He said it was funny I asked because he just got approval (to create) the position.“
After further conversation, Guerrette was offered the job, which she accepted two days later.
“If there’s anyone out there who has anything negative to say about her, I haven’t found them,” Barron said. “We’re all very invested in creating the right kind of energy and atmosphere and high morale for our program and she fits perfectly in that ideal as she has so much passion about women’s basketball at Maine.”
The multi-faceted position offers a variety of tasks and responsibilities, from administrative desk work to assisting coaches in practices and games to coordinating scouting and game preparation.
“Really, it’s kind of a quasi-administrative coaching position. We’ve taken an administrative position and made it more of an active coaching component to it,” said Barron. “There are limitations on the coaching duties that can be performed. You can’t coach on the floor in practices and games, but you’re allowed to be there and help coaches. So scouting and video, on-campus recruiting, preparation of recruiting material… they can be involved in almost anything and everything.”
Guerrette, a St. Agatha native who initially made the UMaine team as a walk-on before earning a scholarship and being named team captain as a junior and senior, has a wealth of experience in a lot of different areas, on and well off the court.
“She’s worn a lot of hats and that makes her uniquely suited for this position,” Barron said. “I see this as a position that can continue to grow and take on more meaning with the program as it goes on, and I can’t imagine having someone more uniquely suited than Tracy. Getting her is like breaking into Fort Knox.”
After graduating from UMaine with a science degree (and pre-med concentration) in 2003, she worked as an educational technician at Fort Kent High School and the Dr. Levesque School in Frenchville for three years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education at UM-Fort Kent and became a long-term substitute teacher at Wisdom High School, her alma mater in 2006. For the last four years, she has coordinated all aspects of UMPI’s women’s basketball program including all day to day operations such as practices, game management, recruiting, fundraising, scheduling, budgeting and managing all team travel.
“Coaching and teaching are things I never thought I’d do,” said Guerrette. “I initially wanted to be a doctor and was really focused on going to medical school, but when I finally earned my degree, medical school wasn’t a priority. My mom got me a teaching job up north because she saw that gift for teaching in me, and I have to admit, I loved it. It was fulfilling and satisfying.”
Guerrette played for the Black Bears from 1998-2002. She led the Black Bears with 30 three-pointers in her junior season and hit a record-tying six shots from behind the arc against Vermont. In high school, she led the Wisdom Pioneers to the 1998 Class D state title while earning tournament MVP, BDN All-State, and Lewiston Sun Journal Class D Player of the Year honors.
“Having played at the Division I level, I have such a love for Maine,” Guerrette said. “Since I was a child, it was my dream to play at UMaine.
And now she can’t wait to get started… Really.
“I’m not really sure when I’m supposed to start officially, but I’ll be there on Monday,” Guerrette said with obvious enthusiasm. “I’m really excited about this.”