December 19, 2018
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Successful Lawrence High School girls basketball coach retires

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Coach John Donato, pictured on the sidelines with his Lawrence High School team in February 2016, has announced that he is retiring from teaching and coaching after 40 seasons in Maine.

Lawrence High School girls basketball coach John Donato, who has chalked up over 500 wins, 11 regional championships and five state titles at five schools, has decided to retire.

Donato is also stepping down as a science teacher at the Fairfield-based school.

However, he said he would consider coaching, “if the right opportunity comes along and I can get excited about coaching again.”

Donato said since he was retiring from teaching, “I thought it would be a good time to retire from coaching as well.

“I’ll be 70 in April and I’m hoping this cycle of my life will be beneficial,” said Donato, who hopes to spend more time with wife Kelly [Taylor] and more time on the golf course.

“I’m an avid golfer,” said Donato, who spent a lot of time running the summer basketball program at Lawrence.

He also said he likes the fact the new coach will inherit a team that returns “six of our top seven players” off this season’s 12-6 team that earned the No. 4 seed in Class A North.

“I didn’t want to leave the new coach with a team that didn’t have any talent,” said Donato.

He admitted that he is going to miss coaching.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to make the adjustment,” he said.

Donato won nine regional championships and four state titles as the girls basketball coach at Houlton High School and won a state Class A title at Lawrence two years ago and the Class A North championship in 2016.

He spent the last seven seasons at Lawrence.

He coached the girls team at Houlton for 18 years, then spent nine years at Messalonskee of Oakland, five at Mount View of Thorndike and one at Hall-Dale of Farmingdale.

The Middleborough, Massachusetts native, who was a former basketball and baseball player at now defunct Ricker College in Houlton, also won a state golf championship and two Eastern Maine baseball titles coaching at Houlton.

Donato said the 500 wins and state championships will always be highlights for him.

“I have a lot of good memories. A lot of good players played for me,” said Donato.

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