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The Falmouth golf program made its mark for years at the Class C and Class B levels. But this fall, the Yachtsmen had to face a new challenge, moving up to Class A.
Longtime coach Spike Herrick hoped his team could keep its head above water while facing three of the state’s best teams in the regular season, but when all was said and done, Falmouth did even more.
It didn’t just compete in Class A but won the state championship and proved that the program is second to none, regardless of classification.
For guiding his team to a historic title and for so effortlessly blending humor, teaching and passion into his leadership style, Spike Herrick is The Forecaster’s choice for our Northern edition Fall 2011 Coach of the Year of a boys’ team.
Herrick grew up in Massaachusetts and was an All-New England lacrosse player at Exeter. He played lacrosse at Princeton before switching to rugby before deciding to play both, something he did long after college as well.
Herrick got into coaching in California, moved to Maine in 1979 to follow his wife, Susan Talbot, when she did her residency at Maine Medical Center. Herrick taught and coached at Cape Elizabeth and helped make boys’ lacrosse a varsity sport. The Capers then dominated that scene for years.
After coming to Falmouth to teach math and physics, Herrick took over the golf program and led it to Class C titles in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993 and after taking 2001 off to watch his daughter play soccer at Stanford, he guided the program to Class B crowns in 2004, 2008 and 2010.
Herrick hadn’t coached golf prior to coming to Falmouth, although he was (and is) a recreational player.
“The golfers taught me,” he said. “I became addicted to the sport. We have motivated kids. They want to succeed in academics and athletics. They work hard and their manners are very good. We’re lucky that (our home course) The Woodlands is a great supporter of the program.”
This year saw the Yachtsmen win eight of 10 regular season matches against the likes of Cheverus, Deering and Scarborough. Falmouth dropped a close decision to the Stags and was pounded by the Red Storm, a wakeup call.
As the regular season division champion, the Yachtsmen earned an automatic berth at states, but received another dose of humble pie by not shooting well at the conference qualifier.
Then, as so many times before, Falmouth got the job done at the state match, shooting the lowest score of any team in any class (312). The Yachtsmen were champions again.
Herrick, who is retired from teaching, lives in Falmouth and is the father of a son, Jesse, and daughter, Heidi (who’s on her way to joining her mother as a pediatrician). He hopes to continue coaching for the foreseeable future.
That’s good news to any fan of the sport as Spike Herrick, our Fall 2011 Northern edition boys’ Coach of the Year has built a model program, one that finds success everywhere it goes.
• 2010 winner: David Higgins (Greely football)
• 2009 winner: Jim Hartman (Yarmouth football)
• 2008 winner: Mike Hagerty (Yarmouth soccer)
• 2007 winner: Mike Andreasen (Greely soccer)
• 2006 winner: Dave Halligan (Falmouth soccer)
• 2005 winner: Joe Heathco (Freeport soccer)
• 2004 winner: Mike Hagerty (Yarmouth soccer)
• 2003 winner: Dave Halligan (Falmouth soccer)
• 2002 winner: Bob Gilman (Falmouth cross country)
• 2001 winner: Mark Luthe (Falmouth golf)
The Yarmouth volleyball program was on life support just a few years ago.
Today, it’s the Class B state champion.
Jim Senecal didn’t just help save the program, he molded it into a contender and ultimately the best team in its class – a feat that’s even more impressive in that he was learning the sport as he went along.
The longtime Yarmouth High coaching fixture got the most out of a determined group of girls this season and is The Forecaster’s choice for our Fall 2011 Northern edition Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.
Senecal is from Vermont and played basketball and baseball in high school. He played baseball at Thomas College and moved to Yarmouth in 1993. He began coaching his kids at the youth level and before long had worked his way up to the varsity level, leading the softball squad for the past seven seasons.
When he inherited the volleyball program in 2007, there were eight kids, but undaunted, the novice Senecal (who had to learn the sport on the fly), soon with the help of assistant coach Mike Reutty, got girls to try the sport and the Clippers became a playoff participant.
This fall, Yarmouth was moved to Class B and the Clippers felt they had a chance to do something special, especially when Morgan Cahill transferred back from Cheverus, joining a strong core.
“This year the challenges were different,” said Senecal. “We knew we had an opportunity. We wanted a banner in our gym.”
Yarmouth began the year inauspiciously with losses to defending Class A champion Biddeford and the eventual Class A champ Greely, then won nine of 10 matches, including a series of showdowns against Class B contenders from Down East. A loss to Class A finalist Scarborough ended the string, but the Clippers won their final regular season match and had their way with Machias, Calais and Bucksport to make history.
“The rewards you get from the kids is something I enjoy,” said Senecal, the father of three daughters, who hopes to coach for many years.
Senecal is now off to his middle school girls’ basketball gig, then will coach softball in the spring. He works for L.L. Bean.
That coveted banner will soon appear in the Yarmouth gymnasium and Jim Senecal, our Fall 2011 Northern edition girls’ Coach of the Year, can beam with pride knowing he played such a pivotal role in helping the program thrive.
• 2010 winner: Rich Smith (Yarmouth soccer)
• 2009 winner: Gary Powers (Falmouth volleyball)
• 2008 winner: Julia Littlefield (NYA field hockey)
• 2007 winner: Jeff Thoreck (NYA soccer)
• 2006 winner: Kelvin Hasch (Greely volleyball)
• 2005 winner: Cathy McGuire (Freeport cross country)
• 2004 winner: Robin Haley (Falmouth field hockey)
• 2003 winner: Robyn Thayer (Greely field hockey)
• 2002 winner: Bob Morse (Yarmouth cross country)
• 2001 winner: Melissa Anderson (Falmouth soccer)