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Northern edition Coaches of the Year

Sports

Northern edition Coaches of the Year

BOYS' TEAM

DAVE HALLIGAN—FALMOUTH SOCCER

When it comes to boys' soccer coaches in the state of Maine, there's Dave Halligan and there's everyone else. While Falmouth's days in Class B appear numbered, or even finished, the Yachtsmen set a new standard that will likely never again be approached.

Since 2000, Falmouth has won nine of 13 state championships, including one this fall. The Yachtsmen had their difficulties at times during the regular season and weren't the top seed going into the playoffs, but once the weather got cold and the games increased in magnitude, there was no stopping this juggernaut.

In light of another nonpareil job, Dave Halligan is The Forecaster's choice as our Coach of the Year of a boys' team. He also was honored in 2003 and 2006.

Halligan grew up in Falmouth, played soccer, basketball and baseball at Falmouth High and after attending the University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine and coaching in Cape Elizabeth and Portland, he came home in 1987 to coach and the rest has been triumphant history.

Halligan led Falmouth to Class C championships in 1996 and 1997. The Yachtsmen moved to Class B in 1999 and quickly set up shop in the winner's circle.

The 2011 team made a stirring and surprising run to the title. This season, Falmouth had some early troubles on set plays and suffered frustrating losses to Cape Elizabeth, Greely and Yarmouth, but Halligan figured out where which of his stars fit best where and in the postseason, the Yachtsmen again had no peer, handling Gray-New Gloucester in the quarterfinals, edging Maranacook in a scary semifinal (which went to PKs), blanking rival Yarmouth with surprising ease in the regional final, then downing Camden Hills in the state game.

The master had produced yet another Gold Ball winning effort.

He's one of the best coaches I've ever had,” said Falmouth senior standout J.P. White, who had the winning goal in the state game. “He knows how to coach. He adapts to the players and knows where to put them.”

Halligan now has 314 soccer wins and 11 Gold Balls to go with 408 (and four championships) on the hardwood. He's now in the process of looking to lead the Yachtsmen to a title in that sport (if he does, it will mark the second time, with 1997 being the other, that Halligan won Gold Balls in both sports in the same school year).

While he's nearer the end of his coaching career than the beginning, there's no telling how many more games he'll win and how many more college players he'll produce (there have been an abundance in soccer and basketball over the years). Dave Halligan, our boys' team Coach of the Year, continues to set the bar.

Prior winners:

2011: Spike Herrick (Falmouth golf)

2010: David Higgins (Greely football)

2009: Jim Hartman (Yarmouth football)

2008: Mike Hagerty (Yarmouth soccer)

2007: Mike Andreasen (Greely soccer)

2006: Dave Halligan (Falmouth soccer)

2005: Joe Heathco (Freeport soccer)

2004: Mike Hagerty (Yarmouth soccer)

2003: Dave Halligan (Falmouth soccer)

2002: Bob Gilman (Falmouth cross country)

2001: Mark Luthe (Falmouth golf)

GIRLS' TEAM

KELVIN HASCH-GREELY VOLLEYBALL

The Greely volleyball team was on a mission this fall. To remain the state's premier power and to win a championship for a beloved, departed member of its family.

Luckily for the Rangers, they were led by the coach that stands alone when it comes to volleyball in Maine.

That coach, Kelvin Hasch, has now won nine state titles in 10 seasons, but this one was likely the most difficult. After longtime assistant coach Bruce Churchill lost his battle with ALS in the offseason, Greely appeared to be running second behind Biddeford after twice losing to the Tigers in the early going this fall. When the dust settled, however, the Rangers beat Biddeford when it mattered most, in the state match.

He got the most of his players, got them to develop into a power as the season progressed and was able to channel their emotion into excellence, all of which earned Kelvin Hasch our selection as Coach of the Year, of a girls' team. Hasch also received the honor in 2006.

Hasch grew up in California and played volleyball at Santa Monica College. He graduated from Long Beach State and despite limited coaching experience, helped start up the Greely program back at the start of the century.

Instead of taking years to become contenders, the Rangers were a power from the get-go, dropping a five-set state match to Woodland in 2002, then winning seven straight championships and establishing the benchmark for consecutive victories (66). The run ended in 2010, but Greely got back to the top in undefeated fashion last fall.

This season, the Rangers weren't the accustomed favorite, but they showed steady improvement and a knack of winning critical points and crucial times. After surviving scares from Falmouth in the quarterfinals and Scarborough in the semis, Greely got another shot at Biddeford and rose to the occasion, taking the title in four games.

Hasch, who also teaches Industrial Technology at Greely, should have another powerhouse team in 2013.

As long as he's at the helm, the road to the championship will always go through the Rangers. Kelvin Hasch, our girls' team Coach of the Year, continues to make it look easy, regardless of the challenges.

Prior winners:

2011: Jim Senecal (Yarmouth volleyball)

2010: Rich Smith (Yarmouth soccer)

2009: Gary Powers (Volleyball)

2008: Julia Littlefield (NYA field hockey)

2007: Jeff Thoreck (NYA soccer)

2006: Kelvin Hasch (Greely volleyball)

2005: Cathy McGuire (Freeport cross country)

2004: Robin Haley (Falmouth field hockey)

2003: Robyn Thayer (Greely field hockey)

2002: Bob Morse (Yarmouth cross country)

2001: Melissa Anderson (Falmouth soccer)