PORTLAND—Deke Andrew, the only coach the Cheverus boys’ lacrosse program has known, stepped down last week to focus more attention on his business, 207Lacrosse.
Andrew, twice named Maine’s U.S. Lacrosse “Man of the Year” and The Forecaster’s selection as Coach of the Year last spring after leading the Stags to the Class A state final for the first time, said that was it was a difficult decision, but one he had to make.
“I can’t expect the kids to give 100 percent if I can’t give 100 percent as a coach,” Andrew said. “My business has grown so much. I felt guilty that I can’t be the coach I want to be.”
Andrew played lacrosse at North Yarmouth Academy, Yarmouth and Waynflete and was an honorable mention all-star his senior year. He got into coaching out of high school, helping with the Yarmouth Middle School program. In 1999, Cheverus began its varsity program and Andrew became the coach. In 14 seasons, Andrew had a record of 111-83, capped by an 11-5 mark last year (the Stags lost to Scarborough in the Class A state final, 9-4).
Andrew raved about his time with the program.
“I was very lucky,” Andrew said. “I was hired at the 11th hour. It’s been magical to see the program develop and be able to work with so many great kids and great coaches as well. The state game was a high point. I felt awful for the kids when we lost. (Athletic director) Gary Hoyt and (school principal) John Mullen have been very supportive. Most of all, I will miss all the great relationships I have developed with the players, parents and staff at Cheverus in my 14 years at the school.”
Hoyt said that Andrew brought much to Cheverus.
“Deke was an interesting hire almost 15 years ago,” Hoyt said. “He was an enthusiastic young kid with some experience who loved the game. Looking back, it was the best choice I could have made. As he grew, the program grew. He grew as a coach, grew as a person and became an integral part of the school. He is a beacon of Maine boys’ lacrosse. It was a difficult and heartbreaking departure.”
Chris Richards, a longtime area coach, who works part-time for Andrew at 207Lacrosse, had praise as well.
“Deke is the one person who put the sport above all else,” Richards said. “He is evidence of what effort and enthusiasm can do. He cares about the kids above all else. He was incredible asset to Cheverus and is a class individual. He’s responsible in large part to the grown of lacrosse in Maine. He gave everyone a chance to play.”
Andrew said that he doesn’t expect to coach at the high school level again. Instead, he plans to continue to grow 207Lacrosse.
“There’s so much coaching to be done year round now,” Andrew said. “This gives me an opportunity to work with more kids from more places. We’ve grown, but there is still so much more growth ahead of us. We have over 200 kids playing in our program and that’s just September and October. We have kids from kindergarten through college, boys and girls.
“Our vision has always been to offer programming to players from all over the state. Our emphasis is on coaching and making sure each player is receiving attention. We have knowledgeable coaches who actively engage kids and get to know them on a personal level. Our facility (Riverside Athletic Facility) is wide open. We select the hours, which gives us huge flexibility for new programs and shootarounds.”
Hoyt is in no rush to name Andrew’s successor.
“We’ll give it a little time and evaluate the program,” Hoyt said. “It’s not something we have to do right away. We’ll talk with Deke about potential candidates, the type of person he thinks will fit here and the type of person I think will fit here and do well with the program and the stage where it is, which is pretty competitive with a lot of kids playing. We’ll make that evaluation and start on the process.”
Deke Andrew has been the only boys’ lacrosse coach in Cheverus history, but he announced last week he was stepping down.