Dan O’Connell, who guided the John Bapst of Bangor football team to the Class C state championship last fall, has been named the 2008 Maine High School Football Coach of the Year by the State of Maine Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

O’Connell was honored during the NFF’s 22nd annual scholar-athlete awards dinner held recently at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

O’Connell was honored for leading the Crusaders to an 11-1 record, capped off by a 21-14 victory over previously unbeaten Winthrop in the Class C state championship game at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

The Bangor native, in his sixth year as the head football coach at John Bapst, previously had been named LTC coach of the year for the second straight season, as well as the Maine Football Coaches Association Class C coach of the year.

O’Connell also has been named head coach of the East team for the 2009 Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic to be played at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford in late July.

Others recognized during the banquet included Michael Haley of Auburn, Contribution to Amateur Football Award; John Huard of South Portland, Distinguished American Award; and Joseph Flaherty of Old Orchard Beach, Football Official Recognition Award.

Named 2009 State of Maine Chapter High School Scholar-Athletes were Camden Fernald of Mount Desert Island, David McGuire and David Searle of Rockland, Ben Violette of Lawrence of Fairfield, Cameron Bishop of Waterville, Jordan Conant of Winthrop, John Gilboy and Mark Reaser of Thornton Academy of Saco and Eric Caron of Messalonskee of Oakland.

Also, Sam Dunwoody of Falmouth, David Ingraham of Windham, Sean Merz of Oxford Hills of South Paris, Kolby Youland of Leavitt of Turner Center, Christian Plunkett and Douglas Stockbridge of Kennebunk, and Dayton McPherson, Joseph Gallant and Joshua Ruby, all of Bonny Eagle of Standish.

Named College Scholar-Athletes were Ryan Canary of the University of Maine and Jason Finkelstein of Bowdoin.

Reynolds leaves PCHS post

Piscataquis Community High School of Guilford will have its third boys varsity basketball coach in as many years next winter.

Bill Reynolds, who coached the Pirates during the 2008-09 season, has resigned from the post, citing job conflicts, according to PCHS athletic administrator Eric Smith.

Reynolds guided a youthful PCHS team to an 8-10 regular-season record good for 11th place in Eastern Maine Class C — and the final team in the division to qualify for postseason play. The Pirates then dropped a 60-59 preliminary-round decision at sixth-seeded Lee Academy.

PCHS started the season 0-3 but came on steadily throughout the winter, perhaps most evidenced by a 62-60 victory over Eastern C finalist Stearns of Millinocket that avenged a 43-point loss to the Minutemen earlier in the season.

Reynolds had taken over for Jamie Russell, who coached at PCHS for eight seasons before leaving after the 2007-08 season to take a similar post at Penobscot Valley of Howland.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...