Eric Terrill and his family wanted a change.
And coaching the Ellsworth High School girls soccer team — and living in a 176-year-old captain’s house with an ocean view and three acres in Stockton Springs — is just what they wanted.
Terrill had spent 25 seasons as the head coach of Division I Charleston Southern University in Charleston, South Carolina.
But he decided it was time to leave the Division I world.
“It was a family decision,” he said.
He left South Carolina a year ago to take over as the interim head coach of the Division III Maine Maritime Academy women’s program for a year.
He left Charleston Southern as the second-winningest coach in Big South history with 181 overall victories (181-244-41) and 75 conference triumphs (75-99-21).
His Buccaneers shared the regular season conference title in 2010.
He fell in love with Maine when he was coaching the Mariners during their COVID-19 pandemic season, which included practices and scrimmages but no games against outside competition.
The 56-year-old Flint, Michigan, native and Michigan State University graduate began looking for jobs in the area and had several interviews.
He was really impressed with Ellsworth principal Dan Clifford and athletic director Josh Frost, so he took the coaching job when it was offered to him.
He will also teach health at the high school.
Frost said that he has heard a ton of positive feedback about Terrill from the parents of the players. He also likes the fact that Terrill has a number of contacts to assist Eagle players interested in pursuing soccer at the college level.
Terrill is replacing Katye Lacasse, who guided the Eagles for the past nine seasons but has moved with her family to Tennessee.
The team had a mini-resurgence the last two full seasons with a 12-15-1 record after going 7-46-3 over the previous four.
To go from directing a Division I program for 25 years to taking over a high school program isn’t much of a contrast for Terrill.
“Coaching is coaching,” he said. “I’ve coached at a variety of levels and it is pretty much the same.”
One tidbit he took from East Lansing High School soccer coach Nick Archer is that when you are at the high school level, you are coaching more than one team. You are coaching from the ground level up.
And Terrill said that is what he intends to do so that he can build a feeder program for the high school team.
He has thoroughly enjoyed his first week at the helm. Frost said they have 35 girls involved, the most in several years.
Terrill’s coaching philosophy revolves around solid team defense.
“If you can’t defend, you aren’t going to win games,” said Terrill, who played soccer at Michigan State and began his coaching career as an assistant for the men’s program at Appalachian State (North Carolina) in 1987. “You have to be organized defensively.”
Terrill said his wife, Debra, has also fallen in love with Maine and they have a son, Easton, who will attend Searsport High School. They have two daughters in Riley, who will be a freshman on the soccer team at Appalachian State, and 24-year-old Chandler.
Ellsworth will open against Caribou on Sept. 4.