WINSLOW, Maine — The Eastern Maine high school football scene will be a little different this fall, and not just because of the expansion of the ranks from three to four classes for the first time since 1986.
Jim Poulin, a fixture on the sidelines as an assistant coach at Winslow High School for the last 38 years, has decided to retire from his post as the Black Raiders’ defensive coordinator.
“During the spring I spent a lot of time in thought and prayer and finally came to the conclusion that this wasn’t going to work,” said the 63-year-old Poulin, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995 and confined to a wheelchair since 2002.
Poulin, who coached from a golf cart, said the weather during football season was taking an increasing toll on him and led to his decision not to come back for the 2013 campaign.
“It’s been a struggle the last few years,” he said. “Coaching outdoors in August in extreme heat and humidity was extremely difficult for me. My body in that golf cart was like a Popsicle, it was melting.
“And then at the end of the season — and we were fortunate to be able to play for a state championship last year — the last couple of weeks it got down in the 30s and being unable to move around in the chair in the cold just zapped me.
“It would be 9 or 10 o’clock at night before we’d get my legs warmed back up.”
Poulin began his coaching career at Winslow in 1974, one year after he took a job as a business teacher at his alma mater.
He initially coached freshman football and junior varsity boys basketball, then branched out to include varsity stints in boys basketball, girls basketball and track and field as well as subvarsity softball and football, from where he joined current Winslow head coach Mike Siviski’s varsity staff after 13 years as the freshman coach and became the Black Raiders’ defensive coordinator during the early 1990s.
“Mike’s been great to me,” said Poulin, who retired from teaching in 2005. “He even made me the offer that when we had double sessions to take the afternoon session off if the heat bothered me, but the way I am is I go to every practice.
“If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it right, because if I don’t I’m not doing justice to the kids, the program or myself.”
Poulin said he is going to miss coaching this fall, and in particular the relationships he develops with the Winslow football players.
“That’s the toughest part of this, losing that contact with my kids,” he said.
Poulin has indicated that he also will give up his winter coaching job as a volunteer assistant to Winslow boys varsity basketball coach Jared Browne, but he hasn’t completely ruled out returning to that post.
Littlefield returning to Winslow sidelines
While Jim Poulin is leaving the Winslow coaching staff, one of his former players will return to the school’s football sidelines this fall.
Wes Littlefield, a 1986 Winslow graduate who had spent the last 10 years as the head football coach at Messalonskee High School in Oakland, said he is returning to his alma mater as an assistant under Black Raiders’ head coach Mike Siviski for the 2013 season.
Littlefield previously coached under Siviski for 11 years before leaving for Messalonskee, where he served as an assistant coach for two years before becoming the Eagles’ head coach in 2003.
Littlefield compiled a 43-40 coaching record at Messalonskee, but his tenure there ended in controversial fashion last September. He resigned from the post one day after an alleged practice incident between Littlefield and one of his players, and he subsequently was charged with assault by local police.
Somerset County district attorney Alan Kelley ultimately opted not to prosecute the case, saying in a statement at the time that “criminal assault charges are not supported by the evidence.”
Littlefield confirmed his new coaching job last Friday while attending a mixed martial arts card in Bangor where he was serving as the trainer for one of the participants, Tara Mitchell of Smithfield.
Littlefield owns and operates a gym in Oakland.
Kiah golf tourney Aug. 10
The inaugural Dennis B. Kiah Scholarship/Brewer Athletic Boosters Golf Classic presented by the Brewer Federal Credit Union will be held Saturday, Aug. 10, at Traditions Golf Club in Holden.
The event is a fundraiser for the Kiah scholarship fund and will support a uniform replacement fund for Brewer High School athletic teams.
The Dennis B. Kiah Coaches Scholarships are awarded annually by the school’s coaches to a graduating male and female student-athlete pursuing post-secondary education who participated in BHS athletics and displayed high standards of character, dedication and sportsmanship.
The scholarships are named in honor of Kiah, the longtime teacher, coach and athletic director at Brewer who retired from a 41-year career in education in 2012.
Kiah was recognized numerous times for his excellence in athletic administration, including the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association’s State Award of Merit in 2007 and the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Distinguished Service Award in 2010. In 2011, he was named the Bob Lahey Athletic Administrator of Year by the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
In 2012 he was honored with the MIAAA’s Gerry Durgin Leadership Award and inducted into the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honors, and late last year he was the recipient of a National Federation of State High School Associations Citation.
The Kiah golf tournament will feature a nine-hole, best-ball scramble format with two shotgun starts at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. A lunch will be held between the sessions.
Entry fee is $50 per player or $200 per foursome, with the cost covering greens fees, golf cart, lunch and the potential for prizes.
Among the available prizes, Quirk Auto has pledged a hole-in-one Chevy Silverado pickup truck.
Registration forms are available by stopping by the Traditions Golf Club or Brewer Community School. More information also is available by calling the golf shop at 989-9909.
Additional corporate sponsorship opportunities are available, and interested businesses should call 404-5700.