University of Maine women’s softball coach Lynn Coutts is hoping to name a full-time assistant coach soon and she said she has “reached out a hand” to Maureen Barron to serve as a part-time, volunteer assistant.
Barron, who is the wife of first-year Maine women’s basketball coach Richard Barron, ran the softball program on an interim basis in the fall while the search committee was undergoing the process to name a new coach.
Deb Smith resigned after three seasons in which she compiled a record of 73-81 including an 18-31 mark last spring.
Coutts indicated she may look to hire somebody “close-by who is familiar with the program to get through this season and then I’ll revisit it at the end of the season.
“I’ve already met with a couple (candidates). It’s a tough time of year to find an assistant,” said Coutts.
She said she will have one full-time assistant and would love to have Barron on board as a volunteer assistant who could help out when she is able to.
“It would be great to have three coaches,” said Coutts, who praised Barron for the job she did in the fall.
Barron was the head coach at her alma mater, Princeton University, and led the Tigers to four NCAA Tournament appearances in her seven years.
Coutts has been encouraged by the work put in by her players in the fall program.
“They’ve been great. They’ve been working hard,” said Coutts. “We’re definitely moving forward. They’ve been spending a lot of time in the weight room and have been getting stronger and faster.”
Coutts and the Black Bears will officially start work-outs on Jan. 9 and will have a February trip to Florida before returning home and then heading to California during their two-week spring break from Feb. 25 to March 11.
“It’s a very tough schedule. It will get us prepared for the America East schedule,” said Coutts.
Coutts is a firm believer in student-athlete immersion in the community and said her players will be gift-wrapping presents at the Bangor Mall next week to benefit United Cerebral Palsy.
Pay-per-view airing Maine football
For those who don’t have Time Warner Cable’s ESPN package and an internet connection, which would enable them to but watch Saturday’s NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoff game between the University of Maine and Appalachian State on internet-only ESPN3, there’s another option: pay per view.
The eight FCS playoff games are being offered on ESPN Game Plan for a price.
Cameron Schuh, a media relations specialist for the NCAA, said the prices vary from region to region.
The ESPN Game Plan package means that local establishments can show the game if they purchase the game.
It is already going to be shown at the Marketplace in the Memorial Union on the Maine campus.
Husson to give Merrill, Swan awards
The Husson University Athlete of the Year Awards will be named for Del Merrill and Clara Swan, respectively.
Three-sport standouts Amanda Gifford and cross country runner Angela Stauble will receive their Swan Athlete of the Years Awards and football-baseball star Kyle Vanidestine will accept the Merrill Athlete of the Year Award on Friday night at Husson’s Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
They will also be honored before Saturday’s Husson-Maine Maritime Academy men’s basketball game at the Newman Gym in Bangor.
Swan and Merrill were both graduates of the Maine School of Commerce, which became Husson University.
Both went on to become very successful coaches and hold a number of high-ranking administrative positions at the school.
Swan guided the women’s basketball team to a 241-34 record while Merrill led the baseball team to a 195-83 mark and the basketball team to a 197-86 record.
The new workout room was named the Swan Center in 2002.
The late Merrill went on to become president of his alma mater.
UMPI players honored
The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Lainey Herring, a junior from Houlton, was named the 2011 Association of NCAA Division III Independents’ (soccer) offensive Player of the Year while UMPI men’s midfielder Craig Maffei of Readfield, a senior, was named the Defensive Player of the Year.
Herring led the Owls with 14 goals including three game-winners. She was joined on the first team by sophomore midfielder Susan Lavertu of Madawaska. Elizabeth Keagan was a second team pick.
Maffei, who was a shutdown defender and the team’s leading goal scorer with eight, was joined on the first team by teammates Kyle Corrigan, a sophomore forward from Caribou, and goalkeeper Richard Felbaum, a senior from Saco.
The Association of Division III Independents consists of 11 Division III schools.