SOUTH PORTLAND—Lynne Hasson, a one-time Red Riots standout and a longtime program assistant, is the new coach of the South Portland girls’ basketball team, succeeding Mike Giordano, who stepped down following the 2012-13 season.
Hasson had opportunities to become a varsity coach elsewhere in recent years, but home was where her heart was and she’s excited to inherit a perennial contender.
“I’m very happy,” Hasson said. “I played for South Portland, I grew up in South Portland, I live in South Portland. I have strong ties here. I was hoping it would eventually work out.”
“(Lynne’s) had opportunities to accept varsity positions elsewhere, but I know in her heart that she wanted to lead the Red Riots’ girls’ basketball program one day and that day has come,” said South Portland athletic director Todd Livingston. “She’s cares deeply not only about South Portland, but also the program. She has worked very hard to get to this point and I have every confidence that she will continue to build upon the tradition established.”
Hasson, then known as Lynne McGouldrick, helped South Portland reach the 1982 Class A state final (the Red Riots lost to Bangor). She graduated in 1983 after playing three years for the varsity team. She also played field hockey, softball and ran track in high school, then went on to play basketball at the University of Maine.
Hasson coached a couple seasons in the early 1990s with the South Portland junior varsity, then returned 11 years ago and was a fixture on the bench alongside Giordano.
Giordano, who won 207 games in 17 seasons, resigned in April after what he felt was a less than favorable review process.
Livingston said there were several good candidates for the position, but Hasson got the nod.
“(Lynne) is very knowledgable and will make sure that she develops the success of the program from the youth through varsity level,” Livingston said. “Any time you can hire an individual that has come up through and played in the program, that’s a positive as far as I’m concerned. I look forward to working with Lynne and seeing the program flourish under her leadership.”
One of Hasson’s key players going forward figures to be her soon-to-be-sophomore daughter, Maddie, a point guard. Hasson previously coached her daughter Abby (now playing at the University of Southern Maine) and feels she’s up for the challenge.
“You make it work,” Hasson said. “A lot of coaches do it. When we’re at the gym, I’m ‘Coach,’ not ‘Mom.'”
Hasson’s family is immersed in basketball. Hasson’s husband, Chris, coached the Scarborough varsity for time and is now the Memorial Middle School coach. Her son, Connor, plays at the University of Maine-Farmington. A son Riley, is entering the eighth grade at Memorial.
Hasson said she expects fans to see a more up-tempo style in the years to come and she feels she has the quality of athletes who can continue the program’s success (South Portland went 12-7 last year, losing to Scarborough in the quarterfinals, its 13th straight playoff berth).
“I love the way South Portland kids play,” said Hasson, who also teaches social studies and math at Memorial Middle School. “That’s never changed. Year after year, we have competitive kids who love basketball. I want kids to go after the ball. We want to score off transition. If girls are open, I want them to shoot it. I have athletic kids who can play that style.”
Hasson credited several coaches, from her high school and college coaches, to the likes of Gavin Kane and Paul True, for influencing her, but credits Giordano for demonstrating how to show character.
“I learned a lot from (Mike) in regards to stuff outside the court,” Hasson said. “The biggest thing is that he’s a class act. Very respectful of the kids. He showed me how to treat officials and kids and how to approach the game. He tried to build character. I’m extremely competitive. I’ll never outgrow that, but I’ll respect the kids and make sure they get a fair shot.”