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Portland edition Winter Coaches of the Year

Sports

Portland edition Winter Coaches of the Year

Portland edition Coach of the Year-Boys' Team

RICH HENRY—Waynflete Basketball

For leading the Flyers to their best season ever and completing a marvelous program restoration process, Henry gets out nod as Portland edition Coach of the Year, of a boys' team.

Henry grew up in Milwaukee and was good enough to play at the college level, first at North Dakota State and later at the University of Maine, playing for some very talented Black Bears teams that could never get past Reggie Lewis-led Northeastern University come tournament time.

Henry didn't seek out a coaching career, but he wound up on the sidelines. He learned of an opening at Waynflete and took over the eighth grade program before inheriting the boys' varsity in 2004-05 with the Flyers coming off successive 0-16 seasons.

Henry got Waynflete into the win column not just once, but five times his first season and after they moved up to Class C, he led the Flyers to 14 wins and the quarterfinals in his third year. By 2011, Henry had Waynflete in the semifinals and they returned last winter.

That all paled in comparison to this season.

The Flyers opened with a playoff loss-avenging victory over Old Orchard Beach and never looked back, winning 15 of 16 regular season games to post the best record in program annals.

Henry, whose coaching style emphasizes calm and poise, utilized his whole roster and Waynflete was solid on both ends of the floor.

The Flyers kept the good times rolling in the playoffs, handling Monmouth in the quarterfinals before really turning heads with a thrilling, come-from-behind win over defending champion Dirigo in the semifinals. Key contributions from bench players were critical in both wins, emphasizing the job Henry did building depth during the regular season. The fun and the run finally ended with a loss to perennial power Boothbay in the regional final, but it's impossible to look at Waynflete's season as anything but an unqualified success.

gI had a good feeling coming in, but the question marks were leadership and ability to play defense,” said Henry. “The captains did a great job. We had great seniors.”

Henry, who works in finance at Unum and lives in Cape Elizabeth, plans to coach for awhile, which is good news for Waynflete, which should be very strong again next season.

Rich Henry, our Portland edition Coach of the Year of a boys' team, has taken the Flyers program from the depths of not winning a single game to establishing them as a regular contender for a championship. That's worthy of high praise indeed.

2011-12 winner: Dan LeGage (Deering Basketball)

2010-11 winner: Joe Russo (Portland Basketball)

2009-10 winner: Bob Brown (Cheverus Basketball)

2008-09 winner: Kevin Haley (Cheverus Swimming)

2007-08 winner: Bob Brown (Cheverus Basketball)

2006-07 winner: Bob Brown (Cheverus Basketball)

2005-06 winner: Dan LeGage (Deering Basketball)

2004-05 winner: Jack Lowry (Cheverus Hockey)

2003-04 winner: Joe Russo (Portland Basketball)

Portland edition Coach of the Year–Girls' team

BRANDON SALWAY, Waynflete Basketball

Salway gets this honor for the second year in a row after leading Waynflete to its first Class C state championship and helping his superstar player, senior Martha Veroneau, earn the most coveted honor in the state.

Salway grew up in Bethel and attended Telstar High School, where he played soccer, basketball and baseball. He played a year of basketball at Dean College, then two years of soccer at the University of Southern Maine. Salway got involved with coaching his final year at USM. He had a previous stint coaching the girls' basketball team at Waynflete, spent some time with the boys' program, then returned to the girls' for the 2007-08 season.

The Flyers had knocked on the door several times, reaching the regional final three times in four seasons, but that's as far as they were able to advance. With a special senior core back for one final run, Waynflete liked its chances coming into the season, but with that came pressure and expectations.

The Flyers rose to the occasion, winning 15 of 18 regular season games, losing only to Western B champion Lake Region and Western B contenders Cape Elizabeth and Wells. Waynflete earned the fourth seed in Western C, but made the regional field its personal playground, dominating Carrabec, Dirigo, Boothbay and Madison to finally punch its ticket to the state game.

By halftime of the final at the Bangor Auditorium, however, it didn't look like the Flyers were going to have a very pleasant experience as a slow start and foul trouble spelled a daunting deficit to a Calais squad playing in a familiar setting.

Like Salway, Waynflete never panicked, stayed poised and confident and slowly chipped away. A Veroneau 3 gave the Flyers the lead for good and she clinched the crown with two late free throws as Waynflete finished it off, 59-55.

Six days later, Veroneau was named Miss Maine Basketball as the finest senior player in the state.

“Brandon is the best coach I've ever played for,” said Veroneau, Waynflete's Winter Female Athlete of the Year. “He brings out the best in all of his players on and off the court. He gets people to play the right way. He stresses sportsmanship. He's a great role model.”

As he has in basketball, Salway has also coached the Waynflete boys' soccer program to over 200 wins. He lives in Old Orchard Beach, is also a physical education teacher and the school's assistant athletic director.

Brandon Salway, our Portland edition Coach of the Year of a girls' team, has shown he can win games regardless of the talent. He has the respect and admiration of his players. This winter, he got to bask in the limelight of being a state champion coach at last, but in truth, he's been a champion for a long, long time.

2011-12 winner: Brandon Salway (Waynflete Basketball)

2010-11 winner: Amy Vachon (McAuley Basketball)

2009-10 winner: J.P. Lavoie (Cheverus Hockey)

2008-09 winner: Mike Murphy (Deering Basketball)

2007-08 winner: John Smith (McAuley Swimming)

2006-07 winner: Jan Veinot (Waynflete Basketball)

2005-2006 winner: Kevin Campbell (Deering Indoor track)

2004-2005 winner: Lindsay Reagan (Waynflete Nordic skiing)

2003-2004 winner: Mike D'Andrea (Deering Basketball)

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