BREWER, Maine — Mike Turner has carved out a nice niche for himself as the owner of Turner Sporting Goods in Hampden.
But he will add a new job this fall as the new field hockey coach at Brewer High School.
He replaces Duffy Doiron, who had guided the fortunes of the Witches for 11 years.
Coaches are hired on a year-to-year basis at Brewer and first-year athletic director Dave Utterback said Doiron was not rehired. He didn’t want to elaborate on the reasons.
“We’re focusing on supporting Mike,” said Utterback. “We’re happy to have him on board. He will bring a lot of excitement and energy to the job.”
Utterback said Turner was one of two applicants for the job.
Turner has coached the Witches’ summer and winter field hockey programs with Ken White the past five years. White will serve as the junior varsity coach.
“Mike has earned his stripes,” said Utterback.
“I’m really looking forward to it and I think the kids are, too,” said the 56-year-old Turner whose daughter, Delaney, was a four-year starter at Brewer. “We’ve also had a lot of support from the parents. It has been absolutely phenomenal.”
Turner said his daughter played a major role in him getting involved with the program.
“Delaney came to me and said the girls wanted to play summer field hockey and they needed a coach,” said Turner. “I had just come off coaching them during the winter at the dome in Waterville.
“Ken and I had a real good time coaching them in the winter and the girls really responded well to what we were trying to convey to them which was basic athletic fundamentals,” added Turner. “So we coached them in the summer and we had a blast. We fell in love with it.”
Turner said he and White have coached in the summer and winter programs for five years.
Those programs involve seven-on-seven play while the fall season features the traditional 11-on-11.
Turner will inherit a Brewer team that had a breakthrough season last fall, going 10-3-1 and earning the fourth seed for the Eastern Maine Class A playoffs before losing to fifth seed Cony High of Augusta 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
Brewer hadn’t won more than four games in three of the previous four seasons. In 2008, the Witches went 6-8.
“We just want to take it game by game. I know that’s a cliche but that’s the way it has to be,” said Turner. “We’re going to be extremely positive with the girls and encourage them to learn and play hard.”
Turner said they will devise a couple of defensive schemes and use whichever one is more effective against their opponent.
“On offense, we’ll want to move the ball quickly down the field with control,” he said. “We’ll try to teach real basic understandable moves.
We’ll want them to move without the ball and get open. We’ll want them to think freely on the field but, at the same time, we’ll want them to perform like a team.”
He said it will be a learning process for them as well and he likes having White assisting him.
“We know each other pretty well. We’re friends off the field. We work well together,” said Turner.
White’s daughter, Casey, was a starting goalkeeper at Brewer.
Turner is looking forward to the season and said they will have tryouts beginning Monday.
“I’m nervous but it’s a great feeling,” he said.