Miles Bisher has fond memories as a youngster of going to the high school basketball tournaments at the Bangor Auditorium with his father, Frank.
The Bucksport native particularly remembers the 1999 and 2000 Penquis Valley High School boys teams that played in consecutive state Class C championship games, losing to Falmouth in 1999 and beating Boothbay Region in 2000.
“I fell in love with high school sports,” Bisher said.
That love developed into a desire to coach, and he realized his dream of being a head coach this summer when he landed the girls soccer job at Edward Little High School in Auburn.
The Red Eddies took an 0-2-2 record into a Thursday game against Messalonskee of Oakland, but Bisher said the wins will come.
“I love it. It’s everything I knew it would be,” said the 29-year-old Bisher, who is also a social studies teacher at EL. “The girls have been positive. They’re awesome kids.
Bisher replaced eight-year head coach Craig Latuscha, who became an assistant principal at the school. Latuscha led the Eddies to a Class A North title in 2014.
“I knew it was going to take time to change a mindset and a culture and build trust with the kids,” Bisher said, “but one of my strengths is building relationships with the players. They are buying in to what I’m doing. They’re open-minded.”
Latuscha’s teams were known for their physicality and direct style of play that involved long passes up the field that would allow the forwards to chase down.
Bisher has changed EL’s style of play and formations.
“We’re going to focus more on sharing the ball and combination plays. We aren’t going to be as direct,” said Bisher, who is trying to figure out how to utilize his players’ strengths.
His practices are based on competition, involving a lot of different games, so the players can develop.
Offense has been the biggest issue for the Red Eddies, who have scored only three goals in their four games.
Bisher wants his players to be more tenacious in the opponent’s penalty area.
“We need to start scoring ugly goals,” Bisher said.
Bisher said Latuscha, the administration, including athletic director Todd Sampson, and the community have been supportive during the transition.
“It’s a crazy sports town, in a good way,” said Bisher, who previously was an assistant girls soccer coach at Bucksport and Windham, and an assistant boys coach at Deering High in Portland.
He coached at Windham and Deering simultaneously, often racing from one practice to another.
“It was insane for two years, but it was well worth it,” said Bisher, who said he learned a lot from Windham head coach Deb Lebel and Deering coach Joel Costigan.
Bisher has also served as an assistant basketball coach.
Bisher graduated from Bucksport High in 2007 and was a first-team All-Penobscot Valley Conference goalkeeper. He attended the University of Massachusetts, and was a goalkeeper and team manager for the school’s club team.
He graduated from UMass in 2011 and eventually earned a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Southern Maine.
Soccer is a family affair for Bisher. His fiancee, Lindsey Gordon, is Bucksport’s No. 2 career scorer behind her sister Elissa Gordon. He coached at Bucksport with his future father-in-law, Jack Gordon.
Bisher returns to eastern Maine Sept. 25 when EL visits Bangor for a 6 p.m. game.
“It will be nice to get back up that way again,” said Bisher, who lives in South Portland.
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