Former major league pitcher Matt Kinney has been named the new varsity baseball coach at Hermon High School, according to Hermon athletic director Stephanie Biberstein.
Kinney, a former Bangor High School star who was drafted in the sixth round by the Boston Red Sox in 1995, was approved as the new coach by the Hermon school board, which also named Megan McCrum the school’s new varsity softball coach.
Kinney last pitched in the majors in 2005 with the San Francisco Giants. He has a career record of 19-27 with a 5.29 ERA and 297 strikeouts over five seasons.
Kinney had been living in Arizona, but moved back to Maine last fall because he wants to raise his two boys, ages 5 and 6, in Maine.
“He comes in with extensive baseball knowledge, with a coaching philosophy of hard work and fundamentals,” Biberstein said. “It’s a good match for the high school.”
Kinney, 37, retired after the 2010 season after playing minor league baseball and pro ball in Japan. He served as the pitching coach at high schools in Arizona and the head coach of the Vipers, a club baseball team for ages 12-14, before making the move back to Maine.
He likes living in Hermon and was pleased when he learned of the coaching opportunity.
“When I played Legion ball back in high school, we were paired up with Hermon and I knew a lot of people here,” he said. “It’s a great school system and the actual job I’ve wanted after baseball was to coach baseball. It turned out they had a position open and I thought it was a great one to try to get.”
He has a straightforward coaching philosophy.
“The biggest thing is attitude and effort,” he said. “I want them to play hard and have a good attitude. Baseball is a game of failure. You have to deal with adversity and move forward.”
After a 16-year playing career, Kinney felt it was a great transition to move into coaching.
“It’s more rewarding to help a kid improve and have success, more than having your own success,” said Kinney, who also has a job working with adults with special needs.
In his last year in professional baseball, Kinney was suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games after testing positive for amphetamines. He admitted then and now that he was responsible for the positive test, but explained that it was due to a paperwork error.
He explained that since he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, in 2005, he had been taking the prescription drug Adderall, which is an amphetamine used to treat ailments such as ADHD.
Adderall is a drug that increases alertness and concentration.
In order to avoid suspension, Kinney was required by MLB to fill out paperwork describing his medical condition and the prescription drugs he was taking. He failed to file the paperwork in spring of 2010, so when he was tested for drugs, the Adderall showed up in his urine and he was suspended.
Kinney led Bangor High to two state Class A championships apiece in baseball and basketball. During his senior year, he was named the recipient of the Dr. John Winkin Award given to the state’s best senior baseball player.
He passed up a scholarship to the University of Maine to sign with the Red Sox.
He pitched in the Red Sox’s minor league system until he was traded to the Minnesota Twins and made his major league debut with the Twins in 2000 and went 2-2 with a 5.00 ERA.
Between 2000 and 2005, he also pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. His best season came in 2003 with the Brewers. He went 10-13 with a 5.19 ERA.
At Hermon, he joins fellow Bangor High grad, Mark Reed, who is the varsity boys basketball coach. Reed was a senior at Bangor High when Kinney was a sophomore and they played together on the baseball and basketball teams.
McCrum is also a Bangor High grad who played softball, soccer and basketball for the Rams before graduating in 2003 and attending the University of Maine-Farmington, where she also played softball and soccer.
She has been an assistant softball coach at Hermon High for five seasons and teaches math at the school.
McCrum replaces Biberstein, who was named the school’s athletic director this past summer.
Kinney takes over for Justin Perry, who took over as the team’s interim coach in mid-May after first-year coach Aaron Brideau left the team after an incident involving a Foxcroft Academy player being hit by a pitch during a game on May 16.
McCrum also has coached junior varsity soccer and basketball at the school for four years. Along with Biberstein and pitching coach Duane Graves, McCrum has helped guide the Hermon softball program to becoming a playoff perennial, which included a 2010 state title.
“She has been a big part of our success, she knows the kids and establishes that continuity as we make the transition,” Biberstein said.
McCrum said she is excited to receive the opportunity to stay with the program and the time seemed right to apply for a varsity post.
“We have a good group of kids very dedicated to the sport who work hard in practice and are very focused,” she said. “We wanted to keep them focused — just playing the game. In softball, you don’t think too much, you just do what you do and good things happen.”