ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine will be graced by the presence of some of the most respected names in college basketball next month.
Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame coaches Theresa Grentz and Van Chancellor, along with future inductee Gary Blair of 2011 NCAA national champion Texas A&M, will be among the featured guests at UMaine’s Coaches Clinic scheduled for Sept. 16.
Black Bear women’s coach Richard Barron, former Colby College men’s coach Dick Whitmore and NBA and WNBA skills instructor Ganon Baker also will share their knowledge during the event, which will be held at UMaine’s Memorial Gym in Orono.
“I believe that they appreciate what we are trying to build here and how special it is when a community supports women’s basketball like we do here,” Barron said of being able to bring such prominent coaces to Orono.
The star-studded cast has a resume the likes of which have never been seen at UMaine. Blair, Chancellor, Grentz, Whitmore and Barron have combined to register 2,616 coaching victories at the college level.
Grentz ranks 19th all-time among women’s coaches with 671 victories, while Blair (620) went into last season ranked 36th and Chancellor (529), who spent 10 seasons in the WNBA, is No. 37 in career victories.
The group will provide on- and off-court demonstrations for the benefit of coaches from all levels from AAU and middle school up through high school and college.
“I am excited to have these guest coaches and I hope our boys and girls coaches in the state, as well as other college coaches, will come and take advantage of such an experienced group of clinicians,” Barron said.
Grentz is a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame who played on a three-time national championship team at Immaculata College. She went on to serve as the head coach at Illinois, Rutgers and St. Joseph’s, leading the Scarlet Knights to a national title.
Blair coached Texas A&M to the Division I national championship in 2011 on the strength of a 33-5 record while Chancellor, a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, is a former coach at Louisiana State and with the WNBA’s Houston Comets, including four championships.
Whitmore led the Colby program for 37 seasons from 1971-2001 and 2003-2009, posting an overall record of 607-322. His 607 wins rank fifth all time among Division III men’s coaches.
Why would such well-known coaches make the trip to Orono for a clinic?
“Really, it’s just knowing some very good coaches who want to give back to the game,” Barron explained.
A clinic lunch will be provided and time will be set aside for coaches to eat dinner on their own and attend a social gathering later in the evening. Participants also are invited to join the clinicians for an 18-hole golf tournament and lunch Sept. 17 at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono.
“The clinic and the accompanying golf tournament offer a great opportunity for all coaches in Maine to build solidarity and to network,” Barron said. “As the only Division I school in the state, I think it is important that we provide opportunities to develop and improve play across the state.”
Hollywood Casino Hotel in Bangor is offering a special room rate of $89 per night for Sept. 15-16. Participants should call 877-779-7771 and mention they are booking for the University of Maine Coaches Clinic special rate.
The clinic is $100, with preregistration due by Sept. 10, while the fee is $150 for those who also plan to play golf. Registration on Sept. 17 is $125.
For information or to register for the Coaches Clinic and Golf Classic, contact Tracy Guerrette, director of women’s basketball operations, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 581-1075.
On Sept. 15, international professional clinician and trainer Baker is offering a skills clinic in Augusta at Cony High School from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $60. The session is for boys and girls ages 11 and up (including college players).
Correction: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect dates. The UMaine’s Coaches Clinic is scheduled Sept. 16 and the golf outing is Sept. 17.