Mt. Blue boys basketball coach Jim Bessey retired recently after 37 years with the Cougars. Bessey, who also coached at Madison Memorial High School, leaves with 479 wins. This year’s team reached the Eastern Maine Class A championship game where it lost to Hampden 46-44.
Bessey, 68, led the Cougars to the Eastern Maine title in 1997. He answered some questions regarding his team and coaching philosophy.
Q: Who were your early influences in the game?
A: "My high school coach, Rod Shain. My whole life has been connected with sports. It was and always has been my niche. I played for a small high school and had the physical ability to excel and the internal desire to win. Coach brought this out in me."
Q: How did you first get into coaching?
A: "I started out as a JV coach at Farmington High School."
Q: When did you start to feel comfortable as a coach and why?
A: "I have always been comfortable as a coach and I knew in the sixth grade that it was I wanted to do. I think my comfort level has always been connected to my ability to relate to my players."
Q: How would you describe your coaching philosophy?
A: "It has always been to get players to work together as a team and to make them understand that everyone on the team can and must make a contribution for the team to be successful. Every player has the ability to make the team better. That little things are important. To convince them that playing and practicing hard are talents."
Q: Where did it come from?
A: "I developed it over time."
Q: Who were your coaching role models?
A: "At the high school level Dick Hunt (Cony), Bob Brown (Cheverus), Tom Maines (Morse, Scarborough). At the college level Dick Whitmore (Colby), Dick Meader (Farmington) , Ed Kohtala (Maine), Steve Clifford (Orlando Magic)."
Q: How has the game changed and how have you adapted to it?
A: "The inability to score the ball-which may be related to more aggressive defense. This demands better ballhandling skills and more time has to be spent on it. More drills."
Q: What do you believe is the key to a successful basketball program?
A: "The key is to get young people to commit to the time it takes to be good."
Q: What will you miss most?
A: "The contact with the players and the coaches and the relationships developed as a result."
Q: How do you hope to be remembered as a coach?
A: "As someone who gave his best and always came prepared. As a coach who made a difference in the big picture of his players, who used sport to teach life lessons."
CALAIS-WOODLAND DROPS FOOTBALL
A recent decision by Calais-Woodland not to field a varsity football team for the 2012 season has left the Little Ten Conference with 11 teams and a potential scheduling problem.
Calais assistant principal Matt Clark said a low projected number of players and declining interest in football in Calais and Woodland caused the decision. The Silverados may field a club team this season but will have to build their feeder program to get back to varsity status.
The current LTC includes Bucksport, Dexter, Foxcroft, Hermon, John Bapst, Maine Central Institute, Mattanawcook, Mt. View, Orono, Stearns, and Washington. Ellsworth, which has fielded a club team for several years could become a 12th team in the league. One team will address the Maine Principals’ Association at its April 24 meeting looking for varsity status, according to assistant executive director Mike Burnham, who did not name the team.
Should Ellsworth join the LTC and feel it’s not ready to compete, the conference has the option of including a bye week in its schedule. Or as Camden Hills did a few years ago, it cold agreed to fill the void by playing exhibition games. A bye week would force the conference to eliminate a playoff round and return to a four-team postseason.
BDN ALL-STATE GIRLS TEAM
The Bangor Daily News recently released its all-state girls basketball team, based on a statewide poll of coaches and media.
Alexa Coulombe, McAuley: Sr.
Meghan Gribbin, Windham: Sr.
Mia Diplock, Cony: Sr.
Kristen Anderson, Leavitt: Jr
Sigrid Koizar, Stearns: Jr.
Allie Clement, McAuley: Soph.
Tiana-Jo Carter, Lake Region: Soph.
Alanna Vose, Medomak Valley: Sr.
Parise Rossignol, Van Buren: Soph.
Carylanne Wolfington, Hall-Dale: Sr.
Marissa Shaw, Nokomis: Sr.
Chandler Guerrette, Presque Isle: Jr.
Olivia Smith, McAuley: Soph.
Megan Pelletier, Messalonskee: Sr.
Adrianna Newton, Leavitt: Sr.
BASEBALL TOP 10
7. Cape Elizabeth
9. St. Dom’s