Haggie Pratt attended a concussion management seminar for Little Ten Conference coaches earlier this month, not as a member of that football fraternity at the time but as what he described as a “friend of the league.”
That relationship has become more formal since then, with Pratt recently being named the new varsity football coach at LTC member Mount View of Thorndike.
Pratt replaces Jack Brady, who left the post after five years.
“I’ve wanted to get back to the LTC,” said Pratt, head coach for the last five seasons at Nokomis of Newport, part of the Pine Tree Conference. “I’ve spent a lot of time in that league. That’s where my roots are.
“I had a couple of opportunities to come back to the LTC as an assistant, but then this opportunity came up and I decided to jump at it.”
Pratt is a 1974 graduate of Dexter Regional High School, where he played football in the LTC for the Tigers. He later served as head coach at his alma mater for 12 years from 1994 to 2005.
Pratt then served as an assistant coach at Nokomis for two seasons before accepting the Warriors’ head coaching job in 2008.
Nokomis and Mount View both began varsity football in 2007 and have endured their share of growing pains during the last six years.
Mount View did qualify for the LTC Eastern Maine Class C playoffs in 2011 but finished 2-6 last fall. The Mustangs and other LTC programs will compete in Class D in 2013 under the expansion of high school football in the state from three to four classes that was approved by the Maine Principals’ Association in late March.
Nokomis went 3-5 in 2012 while playing in the PTC’s Class B division. The Warriors originally were slated to remain in Class B by enrollment under the four-class format in a division that includes former Class A programs such as Lawrence of Fairfield, Messalonskee of Oakland, Skowhegan and Cony of Augusta, but Nokomis petitioned the MPA to play down in Class C for the next two years for competitive purposes.
“I was all set to go back to Nokomis and I’m still tying up loose ends there and will see them through all the things I committed to until they have a new coach,” said Pratt. “I was really attracted to the kids there, which made it a tough decision, and [principal] Mary Nadeau, [outgoing athletic administrator] Earl Anderson, and [former athletic administrator] Jason Tardy were all great people to work for.”
Pratt said he’s optimistic about Nokomis’ football future, with the sport now available to youngsters in grades K-12 throughout the school district and a talented sophomore class set to return to the varsity ranks as more experienced juniors this fall.
He’s also looking forward to the chance to guide the Mount View program.
“I’m pretty excited about the numbers coming back,” said Pratt, who anticipates the return of approximately of 35 high school players from last year’s squad as well as the addition of a 15-player freshman class.
“Their youth football program is pretty strong, as is the junior high program, and I see a lot of people committed to the program.”
Nokomis has not yet hired a replacement for Pratt.