Portland edition Coaches of the Year

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PORTLAND EDITION BOYS’ COACH OF THE YEAR

ROCKY FRENZILLI-PORTLAND SOCCER

* Western Maine Coach of the Year

One of the true good guys in high school sports got his just desserts this fall.

Rocky Frenzilli has been a longtime proponent of soccer and has produced many competitive boys’ teams at Portland High over the years, but the 2010 edition might have been his finest work.

The Bulldogs entered the season viewed as one of the favorites and indeed they boasted plenty of talent on the roster. An early season loss to two-time defending Class A state champion Scarborough and a tie at Windham left Portland 1-1-1, however, and at a crossroads.

The Bulldogs wouldn’t lose again for almost two months as Frenzilli, with the help of a standout and several other fine players, authored a memorable script. Portland would win 14 games in a row, reach the state final for the first time in 16 years and even hold a first half lead against Bangor in the state final. Ultimately, the Bulldogs fell one disputed goal shy, but it’s safe to say this was the best team in school annals.

For putting all the right pieces in place, for making his charges believe they could be the best and for being such a great ambassador for the sport and for high school athletics as a whole, Rocky Frenzilli gets The Forecaster’s nod as our Portland edition Fall 2010 Coach of the Year, of a boys’ team.

Frenzilli grew up in Portland and graduated from Cheverus, where he ran track, in 1966. He attended Niagara University where he tried soccer, got hooked and played as a junior and senior. He was a co-captain his senior season. Frenzilli graduated in 1970 with a degree in history and a minor in science. He returned to Portland, got his teaching certificate from the University of Southern Maine and got a job at King Middle School. The Portland High athletic director asked him to start a soccer program and with the exception of his two years as the PHS athletic director and a stint teaching in Biddeford, Frenzilli has led the Bulldogs since.

After reaching the semifinals in 2009 and great success in the summer, Portland faced expectations this fall. Led by the dynamic Fazal Nabi and a superb supporting cast, the Bulldogs met and exceeded those projections by reaching the state game for just the second time. Portland lost, 3-2, to Bangor in the Class A Final, with the winning goal coming after what the Bulldogs and their coaches felt was an indirect kick. Even though the season ended in heartache, it was one that won’t be forgotten.

“It was a great ride,’ Frenzilli said. “A wonderful year. I had the kids write down their individual and team goals for the first time. A lot of them mentioned getting to states. I enjoyed the opportunity to work with the kids.”

Frenzilli, who gives plenty of credit to assistants Bobby Brittingham, Steve Debree, Joey Giordano and Kai Smith, teaches earth science and physical education at Portland High. He spent a short time coaching softball years ago and has coached the U-19 rugby team since 1996. He lives in Falmouth with his wife, Kathy Mercier, who teaches at Riverton School.

Even though he’s 62, he’s still going strong and that’s good news not just for Portland High, but for all of Maine high school sports. Rocky Frenzilli, our Fall 2010 boys’ Coach of the Year, deserves every ounce of his success.

2009 winner: John Wolfgram (Cheverus football)

2008 winner: Billy Goodman (Deering golf)

2007 winner: Andy LeFebvre (Deering soccer)

2006 winner: John Simpson (Cheverus cross country)

2005 winner: Jim Ouellette (Cheverus golf)

2004 winner: Mike Bailey (Portland football)

PORTLAND EDITION GIRLS’ COACH OF THE YEAR

NOELLE SURETTE-WAYNFLETE FIELD HOCKEY

To say Waynflete’s field hockey program made a quantum leap this fall would be an understatement.

The Flyers posted a winning record and made the playoffs in a non-open tournament year for the first time since the late 1970s, when Fred Lynn was patrolling centerfield at Fenway Park and disco balls still reigned supreme.

Coach Noelle Surette, who once played for the Flyers, proved to be the architect for the program’s revival, no small feat, and deserves plenty of praise.

Here’s a start: The Forecaster is naming Noelle Surette as our Portland edition Fall 2010 Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.

Surette was best known at Waynflete as a basketball star. She helped the Flyers win their lone state championship (Class D) in 2003. She went on to play basketball and lacrosse at Colby-Sawyer. In 2008, Surette took over a Flyers field hockey program that had won just 11 times in the previous eight years.

After guiding Waynflete to three victories in 2008 and four a year ago, Surette got her charges to believe they could be something special this autumn and they responded. After dropping their opener, the Flyers beat Traip in overtime and Poland. They were just 3-4-1 entering a home tilt with perennial playoff contender Freeport on Sept. 29 and in a wild, back-and-forth affair, prevailed, 5-4, to start a stretch of five wins in six games. A 2-0 victory at Traip in the finale secured a playoff berth. Waynflete lost at eventual state champion North Yarmouth Academy in the Western C quarterfinals, but that blemish did nothing to detract from a history making campaign.

The Flyers hope that winning days are here to stay. The foundation was certainly set in place this autumn as Noelle Surette, our Fall 2010 girls’ Coach of the Year, managed to lead Waynflete to something special.

2009 winner: Amy McMullin (Cheverus field hockey)

2008 winner: Ziggy Gillespie (Waynflete cross country)

2007 winner: Patsy Fowler (Cheverus field hockey)

2006 winner: Dave Levasseur (Portland soccer)

2005 winner: Tim Donovan (McAuley cross country)

2004 winner: Jon Shardlow (Waynflete soccer)

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Frenzilli

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