SCARBOROUGH—Pending School Board approval, Ron Cote will be the new girls’ basketball coach at Scarborough High School, replacing Tom Maines, who stepped down last month.
Scarborough athletic director Mike LeGage said that the interview committee will recommend Cote as the new coach to the Superintendent of Schools and School Board at its next regular school board meeting, early next month.
“The School Board will have the final decision in acting on this recommendation, but if Coach Cote is approved, he will be joining an outstanding family of coaches in Scarborough,” LeGage said. “His expertise will provide Scarborough’s student-athletes with the best opportunity to learn those important life skills essential for success on and off the court. The Scarborough family of athletic coaches is committed to the education of its students, as we believe that a dynamic program of athletics is a vital component of the educational development of students. Coach Cote has had a long and distinguished career.”
Cote, who spent most of his coaching career at Biddeford High School, was an assistant coach with the Cheverus girls’ team last winter. He’s eager to begin with a Red Storm program that turned heads last season, going 19-2 and reaching the Western Class A Final before losing to eventual state champion McAuley.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” said Cote, who was part of the Scarborough girls’ program during the summer of 2011 before then-coach Jim Seavey stepped down. “I’m familiar with some of the girls. I liked working with them. They’ve done well. Coach Maines did a great job with them last year. Prior to that, Coach Seavey did a great job.”
Cote, 62, is from Biddeford. He played football, basketball and baseball at St. Louis High School and spent three years on the varsity football team at the University of Maine (where he also played freshman basketball).
Cote has coached for nearly four decades. After spending two years at Brewer, Cote came to Biddeford High, where he would coach and teach for 34 years. Cote coached the boys’ basketball program for 16 years, baseball for 11, was an offensive coordinator with the football program for 16 and spent 2004-2010 with the girls’ basketball team. Cote led the Tigers to the tournament every season and was a regional finalist in 2009, upsetting Scarborough in the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Deering. Cote’s final game as Biddeford’s coach resulted in a narrow loss to eventual champion Scarborough in the 2010 Western A semifinals.
Cote was named Coach of the Year, was a 2003 recipient of the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honors award and also coached the University of New England men’s basketball program for seven years in the 1990s. He earned a Coach of the Year honor at that level as well.
In fact, the Southern Maine Activities Association’s Coach of the Year award is named after Cote, an honor bestowed upon him after he “retired” two years ago.
“I’m concerned he might come back and win his own award,” joked South Portland girls’ coach Mike Giordano. “He’s a great fit for Scarborough. The quality of kids there will match his intensity. He’ll demand a lot and I’m sure they’ll give it to him. His kids will play hard and with a lot of class. We’re fortunate to have him back in the league.”
Cote feels his familiarity with the league’s coaches and ADs gives him an advantage. He doesn’t expect Scarborough fans to notice many changes between his style and that of Maines, who was The Forecaster’s Coach of the Year last winter.
“Our styles are similar,” Cote said. “We’ll play pressure defense and fastbreak offense. I know the girls are coachable, have great attitudes and are competitive. Those qualities fit my philosophy.”
Cheverus varsity coach Richie Ashley said that he learned plenty from Cote last winter and is glad Cote has another shot at a head coaching position.
“I’m really happy for him,” Ashley said. “I know he deliberated for some time because he had a real connection with the girls here at Cheverus. Being a head coach is in his blood. It’s a great opportunity for him.
“Coaching with him was like having the answers to a test. He’s been through so many battles and has won the majority of them. I saw how diligent he is to his craft. He’s the epitome of what a coach should be. Demanding, but respectful. He gets the most out of the players. He maintains outstanding rapport with the kids. That’s what I respect the most.”
With the timing of Maines’ departure and his pending hire, Cote is starting behind the eight ball, but doesn’t view that as an obstacle.
“You’d like to have a summer program to put your system in, so there will be a little adjustment, but I think I can get it done,” Cote said. “There will be different language and terminology and we don’t have much time, but I have good, smart athletes and I think they’ll adjust quickly. Hopefully, we can have the same success we had last year.
“I missed being the head coach. I enjoyed being at Cheverus. It was a super situation, but I missed running the show and having my own team. Now, I have this opportunity. This will probably be the end of my coaching career.”