Northern edition Coaches of the Year

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Winter 2009-10 Northern Edition Coach of the Year-Boys’ Team

MARC HALSTED—Yarmouth Hockey

Once upon a time, the Yarmouth boys’ hockey program set the pace for greatness. Then, the Clippers hit a rough patch. This winter, however, the Clippers returned to the forefront.

Yarmouth had to scratch and claw to make the playoffs, but once the Clippers got there, they turned heads and capped an inspirational season of resurgence with an upset victory over Camden Hills in the semifinals, followed by a valiant effort in a one-goal loss to York in the regional final.

Getting a young team to believe it can win while overcoming injuries, isn’t an easy task, but Yarmouth coach Marc Halsted was up to the task. He pushed the right buttons, got the Clippers to peak at the right time and woke up the echoes while suggesting that Yarmouth will be a factor going forward.

For helping turn things around, Marc Halsted gets The Forecaster’s nod as our Winter 2009-10 Northern edition Coach of the Year, of a boys’ team.

Halsted has a strong sports background. He grew up in Orono, playing hockey and baseball, then was an infielder at the University of Maine. Right out of college, at the age of 22, he started teaching and coaching, first at Hampden Academy, then, beginning in 2005, in Yarmouth.

Halsted had the unenviable task of replacing a hockey coaching legend with the Clippers, Scott Matusovich, who led Yarmouth to Class B crowns in 2001 and 2002 and was notorious for making the most of his roster.

It took Halsted a little time, but he too has shown that he can lead the Clippers to great things. Yarmouth won just 17 games in his first four seasons, but everything came together this winter.

The Clippers opened the year with four wins in their first five contests. Then, amid injury, Yarmouth dropped eight of nine, but the victory was encouraging, a rare win over rival and defending Class B state champion Greely. With the playoffs appearing a longshot, the Clippers closed strong, winning their final four contests to earn the No. 3 seed in Western B.

Yarmouth was young, but hungry and Halsted fueled the fire. The Clippers had to play without key players, but unheralded kids rose to the occasion.

In the postseason, the Clippers were expected to be happy to be there, but they erupted in the third period to upset Camden, then, apparently dead in the water, trailing heavily favored top-seed York 5-1, Yarmouth scored three times to make things interesting before finally falling just short.

Halsted, who credited assistants Josiah Gray (YHS Class of 2006), Tim Kiley (who scored the first goal in program history) and Brad Leighton for the team’s success, also coaches the Yarmouth baseball team and teaches US History, Government and Economics at the high school. He lives in Brunswick. He and his wife are expecting their first baby in June.

That will be a perfect capper to a wonderful stretch for Marc Halsted, our Winter 2009-10 North boys’ Coach of the Year, who helped the Clippers make a long-awaited return to prominence.

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 2009-10 North Coach of the Year-Girls’ team

ROB HALE-Greely Swimming

There’s a reason the Greely swim program keeps producing standout athletes. Yes, tradition is part of it. Facilities also help, but at the end of the day, the reason so many kids, of so many ages, line up for a chance to get into the water is the man who runs the show.

Rob Hale, a one-time Rangers standout and longtime coach, is respected, admired and most of all beloved much less for his coaching than for the fun atmosphere he fosters.

But rest assured, Hale can coach with the best of them. In case you missed it, Greely swept the boys’ and girls’ Class B state championships this winter after several close calls. More importantly, Hale knows how to keep kids of all abilities engaged and interested in the sport. Wild hairstyles and creative T-shirts, humor and enthusiasm are all part of the curriculum and the results are plain to see.

For leading the Rangers to the championship and for serving as a fun and fantastic leader, Rob Hale earned some long-overdue recognition as The Forecaster’s Winter 2009-10 Northern edition Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.

Hale is a Greely man through and through. He grew up in Cumberland, started swimming at the age of 12 and is a member of the Class of 1978. Hale jokes that he was cut from almost every varsity team during his high school years. Except one. He was an integral member of the swim squad, went to prep school at Exeter (where he also played water polo), then went to Colgate for two years before finishing up at the University of Maine.

Hale’s first coaching job was with the Seacoast youth team. He went on to coach as an assistant at Bangor, spent two years in Westbrook, then came home. He’s coached Greely Middle Schoolers for 20 years, the Rangers girls’ varsity squad for 20 seasons and the boys for 16. Hale also coached the National Paralympic team in 1996, where he met his wife, Joyce.

Hale has also coached middle school track and softball, junior varsity softball and volleyball and is an Ed. Tech at the high school.

For the past several seasons, Hale heard the word “bridesmaid” more than he cared to, but this winter, Greely left no doubt, as the Rangers rode impressive performances to win the girls’ Southwesterns championship and both Class B crowns.

“This year was special,” Hale said. “Very gratifying. It was probably one of the best teams I’ve coached. Great attitudes. We had unbelievable senior leadership and the whole team worked hard and had fun.”

Simple ingredients led to a most memorable finish.

Hale’s fans are numerous.

“Rob is the best coach in the world,” said freshman Sarah Easterling, Greely’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year. “It’s his love for swimming and his humor.”

Hale, who lives in Cumberland with Joyce and his three children (Molly, age 8, and 4-year-old twins, Brady and Keegan), hopes to stick around long enough to coach one of his children.

The swimming community should be so lucky. Rob Hale, our Winter 2009-10 North girls’ Coach of the Year, has created an enviable legacy and certainly was justly rewarded this season.

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)

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.