ORONO — These are busy times for Jason Coleman.
He’s the general manager for a family-owned restaurant, The Roost, that this week opened its second location. The new Waterville branch joins the original establishment on Mill Street in Orono.
He and his wife Kylie are also expecting their first child this fall.
And now the 2003 Orono High School graduate is the new boys varsity basketball coach at his alma mater.
“There are certain jobs a coach has his eye on, and when the opportunity comes to coach at the school you graduated from, you jump at it,” said the 25-year-old Coleman, who played basketball and football for the Red Riots.
Coleman replaces Willie Gavett, who guided the Red Riots for the last two seasons. Playing without a senior on its roster this past winter, Orono finished with a 2-16 record in Eastern Maine Class C.
“We’ve got a very, very young group coming back,” said Coleman.
Coleman played football for a year at Husson University after graduating from high school until injuries curtailed his playing career.
He went on to serve as an assistant football coach at John Bapst of Bangor for three seasons, as well as being the head boys freshman basketball coach and varsity assistant for one year.
Coleman then moved to Indiana, where he continued to coach high school football as well as an elite AAU girls basketball team of high school sophomores and juniors that won a state championship and the Adidas national championship. That team included numerous Division I prospects.
Coleman returned to Orono last September and coached the Orono Middle School boys basketball “A” team last winter.
“Jason did just did a fantastic job at that level,” said Orono athletic administrator Mike Archer. “It’s a good fit for us. He’s a younger guy with a really good basketball mind, a lot of energy and a tremendous amount of enthusiasm.”
Coleman said the timing of his hiring to the varsity post enables him to get started quickly on the summer basketball program.
“I met with the kids briefly on Friday,” he said. “I told them I’ll have the gym open every day this summer if they want it. We’re going to go after it this summer.”
Coleman plans to employ an aggressive style of basketball at the varsity level.
“I like to get up and down,” he said. “We’ll extend defensively and we’ll use pro sets, but everything starts with defense.”
He also plans to have his high school players interact with younger basketball hopefuls within the school system.
“I’m going to try to get the older kids involved in the rec department program,” he said. “We need to develop as much interest in basketball as we can in order to have a strong feeder program because that’s where it all starts.”
Archer is optimistic that Coleman’s presence will provide stability throughout the Orono boys basketball program.
“We want someone who’s going to stay here and build a program,” said Archer, “and Jason is someone who’s going to be very visible and putting in the time with the younger kids.
“He clearly knows where we’re at right now, and he knows he’s got work to do, but he’s looking forward to it.”