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Northern edition Coaches of the Year

Winter Athletes of the Year

Northern edition Coaches of the Year

Coach of the year is another very difficult award to bestow. There are so many devoted and excellent ones out there.

These awards were not necessarily awarded to a man and a woman, but to the top coach of a boys’ team and the top coach of a girls’ team.

Winter 2011-12 Northern edition Coach of the Year-Boys' Team

ADAM SMITH—Yarmouth Basketball

Adam Smith rebuilt the Yarmouth boys' basketball program from the ashes and this winter, accomplished what once would have been unthinkable, leading the Clippers to a state championship, something which last happened when Lyndon Johnson was still in the White House.

Smith seems to get more and more from his kids each season and after leading Yarmouth to its first Gold Ball since 1968, he once again gets the nod as The Forecaster's northern edition Winter Coach of the Year, of a boys' team.

Smith also won in 2007 and 2011.

Smith was a three-sport athlete (cross country running, basketball and baseball) at Nokomis High School. He went on to play soccer, basketball and baseball at the University of Maine-Presque Isle. After coaching at Mars Hill and Milo, Smith came to Yarmouth and took over a boys' basketball program that had long been an afterthought.

After going 1-17 in his second season, it would have been understandable if Smith said enough, but instead he stuck with it and the next season, the Clippers turned the corner. They haven't missed the playoffs since.

This winter, Yarmouth lost four times, by a total of nine points, but most observers still felt Falmouth and York were the teams to beat entering the playoffs. Instead, the Clippers elevated their game dramatically and pounded Lincoln in the quarterfinals and Spruce Mountain in the semis before holding off undefeated Falmouth for the regional crown. Yarmouth capped its magical run with a victory over Gardiner in the Class B state final at the Bangor Auditorium, a venue where Smith once played.

Smith's up-tempo style, featuring tenacious defense and fastbreak offense, proved unstoppable and he milked everything he could out of his players.

Smith has taught health science at Yarmouth High for 12 years. He also coaches middle school soccer in the fall and is a track throwing coach in the spring. He lives in Harpswell with his wife, Karyn.

The Yarmouth Clippers are state champions and it's still hard to believe, but greatness is no surprise as long as Adam Smith, our Winter boys' Coach of the Year, is at the helm.

2010-11 winner; Adam Smith (Yarmouth basketball)

2009-10 winner: Marc Halsted (Yarmouth hockey)

2008-09 winner: Barry Mothes (Greely hockey)

2007-08 winner: Craig Sickels (Freeport basketball)

2006-07 winner: Adam Smith (Yarmouth basketball)

2005-06 winner: Jorma Kurry (Falmouth indoor track)

2004-05 winner: Scott Rousseau (Falmouth hockey)

2003-04 winner: Barry Mothes (Greely hockey)

2002-03 winner: John Maloney (Yarmouth basketball)

2001-02 winner: Scott Matusovich (Yarmouth hockey)

Winter 2011-12 North Coach of the Year-Girls' team

JAY LOWERY-Yarmouth basketball

In 2010-11, the Yarmouth girls' basketball team won one game and that victory came by a single point. When Jay Lowery became the new coach, he set the bar extremely high, then delivered.

Lowery felt the Clippers could produce a winning record this year and while they fell just short, they did manage to improve their win total by eight, host and win a playoff game and make it to the quarterfinals for the first time in six years.

For being able to rebuild the program so quickly and for believing when others didn't that great things were possible, Jay Lowery is The Forecaster's choice as our northern edition Winter 2011-12 Coach of the Year, of a girls' team.

Lowery played basketball at Deering and coached his kids, but this was his first varsity job.

The first order of business was simply honing fundamentals and creating confidence. That came by the end of the calendar year thanks to an upset win at Wells, a near home upset of York and a victory over Fryeburg.

While the team was anchored by senior standout Morgan Cahill and senior Jeanna Lowery, the coach's daughter, much of the squad was very young and as a result, the Clippers did struggle at times. They gradually improved, however, and won six of their final 10 games, including a decisive victory at Falmouth to earn the No. 8 seed for the regional tournament, allowing them to host Falmouth in the preliminary round.

There, Yarmouth cruised to a decisive win and punched its ticket to the Expo for the quarterfinals, something which hadn't happened since 2006. The run ended with a loss to eventual regional champion Lake Region, but it was one of the most impressive 9-11 seasons in memory.

“I knew we had our work cut out, but I'm always very optimistic,” said Lowery, who credits assistant coaches Craig Curry and Amy McMullin for much of the program's rebirth. “After winter break, we played better. We were successful.”

Lowery lives in Yarmouth and owns his own business, CID Tools, which is based in Saco. He and his wife Kathy have a son, Jay, and two daughters (Jamie and Jeanna).

The Clippers weren't a one-year wonder. Yarmouth will be a contender for years to come. As long as Jay Lowery, our Winter girls' Coach of the Year, is at the helm, look for this program to keep upping the ante.

2010-11 winner: Mark Ouellette (Greely Alpine skiing)

2009-10 winner: Rob Hale (Greely swimming)

2008-09 winner: Billy Goodman (Greely basketball)

2007-08 winner: Nick Nash (Yarmouth basketball)

2006-07 winner: George Conant (Falmouth basketball)

2005-06 winner: John Keyes (Falmouth swimming)

2004-05 winner: John Folan (Greely track)

2003-04 winner: Jim Seavey (Greely basketball)

2002-03 winner: Jim Seavey (Greely basketball)

2001-02 winner: Eric Austin (NYA basketball)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.