When the Katahdin girls basketball team tips off its season Saturday in Stacyville against Bangor Christian, the Cougars will have dual leadership on the bench from two coaching veterans.
Terry Duffy and Phil Faulkner will team up to guide Katahdin’s fortunes this winter.
Duffy was previously an assistant under Dick Barstow, who wasn’t rehired for the post after last season, while Faulkner, also the school’s athletic administrator, assisted with the boys’ program last winter.
Barstow is Maine’s winningest coach with more than 665 victories spanning 48 years.
Both coaches have built up quite a resume over their careers.
Faulkner has amassed more than 400 victories coaching basketball at Southern Aroostook in Dyer Brook and Katahdin while Duffy has coached the school’s softball team since 1980 and coached the Cougars’ girls basketball team from 1980-96.
Duffy coached the Cougars’ JV teams the last two seasons.
The Katahdin girls basketball team defeated Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook in the Class D preliminary round last year and shocked top-ranked Washburn in the quarterfinals before falling to Ashland in the semis.
When applicants for the post were limited, something had to be done, as preseason practices were fast approaching.
“We only had a couple applicants and we needed to have someone right off,” said Faulkner. “I thought we could combine to do things together, so it worked out.”
Faulkner and Duffy are quite busy these days, as they also collaborate to coach Katahdin’s junior varsity boys team, since the school couldn’t find a coach for that vacancy.
“It’s hard to find people who want to do this any more. You have to put up with a lot to be a coach,” said Faulkner, who is no stranger to coaching girls.
He has coached the Cougars’ girls soccer team the last three falls, but said he’ll probably relinquish those duties.
Duffy had served as an assistant under Barstow and was a legitimate fit.
“He’s got a lot of input in there. He’s got a good head on his shoulders, he knows the game,” said Faulkner. “He has a great way of handling young ladies.”
Faulkner said it will be a challenge for he and Duffy to follow in Barstow’s footsteps.
“It’s impossible to fill his shoes, he knew the game inside and out,” Faulkner said.
The Cougars graduated one senior from their 2007-08 roster, and should be very competitive in the Eastern Maine Class D ranks.
Katahdin will be led by a variety of guards, including juniors Olivia McNally and Melissa Duffy.
“We’re excited to see what happens,” Faulkner said.
“We’re going to see how this goes,” added Terry Duffy.
Leonardi, Durgin shine at FLNE
Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunk and Bonny Eagle of Standish’s Emily Durgin have added another item to their outstanding cross country achievements.
The freshman runners both ran to solid performances at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional meet Saturday at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City.
Leonardi finished an impressive 12th in the field in 18 minutes, 40 seconds over 5,000 meters while Durgin was 24th in 18:49.
The top 10 finishers in the field qualified for the Dec. 6 national championships at Balboa Park in San Diego. Leonardi finished 24 seconds behind 10th-place finisher Lauren Vigilante of New Jersey.
Emily Jones of Harvard (Mass.) High took first place in 17:31.
Durgin was right with the leaders through the mile, going through in roughly 5:20, while Leonardi ran a consistent race, kicking past another runner in the homestretch to cement her finish.
In the boys race, Cony of Augusta junior Luke Fontaine finished 38th in 16:27.
Both Leonardi and Durgin have also been named to the Maine Track and Cross Country Association’s All-State First Team, along with classmate Abby Mace of Maranacook in Readfield and sophomore Brianne Dunn of Ellsworth.
Mount Desert Island senior Heather Spurling and Mt. Blue of Farmington junior Meloday Lam earned honorable mention.
Cony’s Fontaine was named to the boys’ first team, joining other local stars in Wade Davis of Hall-Dale in Farmingdale and Will Geoghegan of Brunswick.
Ben Chapman of Ellsworth and Kelton Cullenberg of Mt. Blue were tabbed for honorable mention.
Soccer banquet Sunday
While the high school basketball season is set to tip off around the state Friday, the soccer campaign will come to a formal end this weekend.
The Maine Soccer Coaches Association will host its 35th annual All-Star Banquet on Sunday evening at the Spectacular Event Center on Griffin Road in Bangor.
Festivities start at 1 p.m., and those planning to attend should log onto www.mainesoccercoaches.com and download a reservation form.
Eastern and Western Maine all-star teams, along with players of the year in each class and All-America and All-New England honors will be announced for both boys and girls at the banquet.
Tickets are $25 and forms must be postmarked by Thursday to Michael Jeffrey, Maine Soccer Coaches, 8 Somerset St., Bangor, ME 04401.