Gene Fadrigon is back.
Fadrigon, who resigned as the head hockey coach at John Bapst High School two years ago after leading the team to its most successful season, will return as the head coach at the Bangor-based school.
Earlier in his career, he had spent 15 seasons as the head coach at Old Town High School.
“I missed it from day one (after resigning). I had a great time there,” said the 66-year-old Fadrigon. “I’m very, very excited about being back.”
John Bapst athletic director Rick Sinclair is equally happy to have him back in the fold.
“I’m excited that he wanted to do it,” said Sinclair. “He’s a great man with an incredible resume. He’s a five-time coach of the year, he has won four Eastern Maine (Class B) championships and two state titles.”
Fadrigon notched his championships at Old Town High School and he returned to Old Town as an assistant under Brett Hale for the 2009-2010 season.
He didn’t coach last season.
Sinclair said he chose Fadrigon from a six-applicant pool.
Since resigning, he has also received his degree in technical education from the University of Southern Maine although he took the courses at Eastern Maine Community College where he is the department chairman of the truck and automotive program.
At the time he resigned, Fadrigon said he was tired of the negativity and behind-the-scenes meddling of a few parents of his players.
“I was too quick to react,” admitted Fadrigon. “I was emotional after losing in the semifinals (5-1 to Presque Isle). I should have cooled off. If I had stepped back and reflected on it, I would have realized what a really positive experience it was.”
He said he regrets leaving but also said he “wanted to finish my degree.”
The Crusaders went 16-2 during the regular season under Fadrigon and earned the school’s first-ever top seed for the playoffs before losing to the Wildcats. He had assisted Aaron King at John Bapst during the two previous seasons.
John Bapst went 44-16-1 under King and Fadrigon.
Greg Stone had been the head coach the past two seasons and the Crusaders improved from a 1-14-3 campaign his first year to 6-12 this past season.
Sinclair didn’t renew his contract.
“When I heard the job opened up at Bapst, I put in my resume,” said Fadrigon. “I was fortunate enough to get my job back and I’m very grateful to Rick Sinclair and Mr. MacKay (head of schools Mel MacKay) for accepting me back.
“I’ve already met with the players and the parents and it went well,” added Fadrigon.
He credited Stone with getting the program “looking forward.
“They were better this past year,” he noted.
“The players who were freshmen when I was in my last year will be seniors now,” said Fadrigon, who intends to keep Josh Lander as an assistant coach.
Meghan MacDonald, who was an assistant under Stone, will also help out according to Fadrigon.
“She’s going to be busy with women’s hockey but she’ll help out when she can,” said Fadrigon.