Portland edition Coaches of the Year

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Coach of the Year 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.

Spring 2011 Portland edition Coach of the Year—Boys’ team

MAC MCKEW—CHEVERUS BASEBALL

* SMAA Coach of the Year

The Cheverus athletic program is one of the proudest in the state of Maine, but prior to this spring, the Stags had never won a baseball state championship.

That drought is now a thing of the past.

The Stags were clearly a dominant team all season and in a year of great parity, rose above and made history. While the squad boasted an abundance of special players, the man pushing all the buttons deserves a big share of the credit.

In that light, Mac McKew is The Forecaster’s selection as our Coach of the Year of a boys’ team in the city of Portland.

McKew is from Lewiston and played baseball at Lewiston High, where he graduated in 1977. He caught at the University of Southern Maine and got into coaching in college with the South Portland American Legion team. The father of three kids got back into coaching several years ago and after working with the Cheverus Legion team, took over the Stags in 2009.

After producing competitive teams his first two seasons, this year’s squad had no peer. McKew benefited from having several players who had either won a state title in football in the fall and/or went to the basketball state game. This year’s Cheverus team was largely intact from the year before and quickly made a mark.

“I knew we were capable,” McKew said. “As we progressed, we got better and believed in ourselves. We had great pitching depth, a lot of hitters and excellent defense up the middle.”

By the end of the regular season, the Stags were 14-2 and the top seed for the playoffs. They got past Thornton Academy, South Portland and Westbrook to win the regional crown, then defeated Lewiston in the state final to make history.

“It was not a cakewalk,” said McKew. “We had to go through the Western Maine gauntlet. All the playoffs teams had at least 10 wins.”

McKew lives in Portland and is a national account manager in the auto glass business. He still coaches Legion ball and looks forward to more excellence next year.

With him at the helm, you can’t rule the Stags out. Mac McKew, our Portland edition 2011 boys’ team Coach of the Year, pushed all the right buttons this season and the end result was triumphant.

2010 winner; Steve Kautz (Waynflete baseball)

2009 winner: Eric Begonia (Portland lacrosse)

2008 winner: Mike D’Andrea (Deering baseball)

2007 winner: Mike D’Andrea (Deering baseball)

2006 winner: Stephane Pejic (Waynflete tennis)

2005 winner: Eric Begonia (Portland lacrosse)

2004 winner: Mike D’Andrea (Deering baseball)

Spring 2011 Portland edition Coach of the Year—Girls’ team

LINDA COHEN—WAYNFLETE TENNIS

Waynflete’s girls’ tennis program spent the last four years in the shadow of rival North Yarmouth Academy, but this spring, everything fell into place for the Flyers.

Talented players, good camaraderie and a late surge spelled Waynflete’s first Class C state championship since 2006.

Linda Cohen, the Flyers’ coach and a longtime tennis aficionado, deserves plenty of credit for the end result, mixing and matching, filling holes and getting her girls to believe they could go all the way.

That’s how it ended up and as a result, Linda Cohen is The Forecaster’s choice as our Spring 2011 Portland edition Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.

Cohen grew up in Bethlehem, Penn., and started playing the sport at the age of 9. She credits her high school coach as her mentor, one who taught her many life lessons. She walked on at Penn State and still plays competitively. She took over the Waynflete program in 2008 and after being unable to solve NYA her first three seasons, pushed all the right buttons this spring.

Waynflete dropped two of its first three matches and overcame injuries to Maddie High and Emily White to earn the eighth and final playoff seed at 8-4. It turned out that the Flyers had the rest of the region right where they wanted it.

Waynflete eliminated top-ranked Hall-Dale, No. 5 Dirigo and after NYA was upset in the semifinals, downed No. 6 Winthrop to reach the state final. There, the Flyers dispatched George Stevens Academy to return to the pinnacle.

“I had great players and solid team chemistry this year,” said Cohen. “We did a lot of team building. We came together quickly and filled roles.”

Cohen lives in Scarborough with her husband and two sons. She owns her own business, Winter Whimsies, which sells Christmas ornaments. She looks forward to returning to the Flyers next spring.

She certainly did a tremendous job this season. Linda Cohen, our Portland Spring 2011 girls’ team Coach of the Year, helped her team navigate many challenges to wind up at the pinnacle.

2010 winner: Robby Ferrante (McAuley softball)

2009 winner: Bonnie Moran (Portland tennis)

2008 winner: Cathie Connors (Waynflete lacrosse)

2007 winner: Jamie Chamberlain (Cheverus lacrosse)

2006 winner: Jamie Chamberlain (Cheverus lacrosse)

2005 winner: Rick Supinski (Cheverus softball)

2004 winner: Cathie Connors (Waynflete lacrosse)

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