Bears hire Kohtala as assistant coach

Posted Sept. 22, 2009, at 12:18 a.m.

ORONO — University of Maine alum Ed Kohtala is returning to the school as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team, head coach Ted Woodward announced Monday.

Kohtala, who graduated from Maine in 1981 with a degree in education, brings nearly 15 years of collegiate coaching experience to the Black Bears as well as several years as a collegiate head coach.

“I am very pleased to have Ed join our program,” said Woodward. “He is a coach of great knowledge, experience, character and integrity and we are very happy to welcome him as a member of what I consider to be an outstanding staff.”

Kohtala, a Vienna native and Mt. Blue High School of Farmington grad, comes to Maine after two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. While at UMKC, Kohtala worked on scouting, recruiting and with post players.

Prior to UMKC, Kohtala was the head coach for six seasons at NCAA Division III Alma College where he coached several all-conference players.

Kohtala coached at the University of Texas from 1998-2001, serving as an assistant to head coach Rick Barnes, and helped guide the team to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments and the 1999 Big 12 regular-season championship.

Kohtala went to Texas from Clemson where he coached under Barnes after serving the 1996-97 season as a graduate assistant to Billy Donovan at Florida.

“I have had some great experiences during my career,” said Kohtala. “While with coach Rick Barnes at Clemson and Texas, we participated in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for four straight years. During those years I worked with a number of excellent coaches and I had the opportunity to help coach seven players who went on to play in the NBA. I enjoyed those years very much as I have the years in coaching before and since. But at this time in my life, I can think of nothing better than to return home to Maine and help coach the Black Bears.”

Kohtala was an assistant at Bridgton Academy in Maine before being named head coach at St. Edward’s School in Vero Beach, Fla. Kohtala assisted the varsity program at Vero Beach High School before getting the head coaching job at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Georgia and then proceeding to Clemson.

Kohtala and his wife, Angie, have two daughters, Camille, 8, and Katherine, 4.

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