Portland edition Fall Coaches of the Year

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It’s gotten to the point where John Wolfgram can be measured against only one person when it comes to coaching high school football in the state of Maine.


That’s what happens when you win 10 Gold Balls, nearly 300 games and set the Class A record for consecutive wins not once, but twice.

After another sensational season, John Wolfgram is The Forecaster’s choice for boys’ team Coach of the Year, marking the second time Wolfgram has been honored (2009 was the other).

Wolfgram, who played in Massachusetts and at the University of Maine, has become a coaching legend in the state, winning a state title at Madison, three more at Gardiner, four in South Portland and the 2010 and 2011 crowns at Cheverus, which hadn’t been competitive  for years when he took over in 2006.

Back in the 1990s, South Portland won 31 straight games, but that record was left in the dust at the end of this season when Cheverus downed Deering for its 32nd in a row, giving Wolfgram the unique honor of setting and resetting the bar.

Wolfgram likes talking about records and his accomplishments about as much as he likes watching a player fumble or miss a block, however, and his singular focus has helped the Stags become the flagship Class A program, even though their quest for a first-ever Class A three-peat was denied by Thornton Academy in the regional final.

No one is as driven or fundamentally solid as Wolfgram and even though he’s coached for decades, he can still connect with his charges.

“It’s been an honor to be coached by him,” said Cheverus senior Donald Goodrich. “I’ve learned a lot about the game and about life. He’s been a great help to me.”

Hundreds of players from four schools over two generations have relayed similar sentiments.

Wolfgram, who also teaches English at Cheverus and officiates basketball and lacrosse, is closer to the end of his coaching career than the beginning, but the hope here is that his career still has many years and wins left in it.

John Wolfgram, our boys’ team Coach of the Year, has enjoyed a run of success unmatched in Maine high school football annals. Every accolade he’s received is well deserved.

Prior winners:

2011: Brandon Salway (Waynflete soccer)

2010: Rocky Frenzilli (Portland soccer)

2009: John Wolfgram (Cheverus football)

2008: Billy Goodman (Deering golf)

2007: Andy LeFebvre (Deering soccer)

2006: John Simpson (Cheverus cross country)

2005: Jim Ouellette (Cheverus golf)

2004: Mike Bailey (Portland football)



* Region 1 Private School Coach of the Year nominee

After a series of close calls, the Waynflete girls’ soccer team was poised to win a championship this fall, but the Flyers had to overcome their share of challenges throughout the season.

Waynflete saved its best for last, riding a series of dramatic playoff victories to its first title in four years and coach Todd Dominski was a big reason why.

Dominski effectively molded his seasoned veterans with a group of promising newcomers and got his group to believe it would score goals when it mattered most.

For doing all that and leading the Flyers to the Promised Land, Todd Dominski is The Forecaster’s choice as our girls’ team Coach of the Year.

Dominski grew up in Connecticut and later played soccer at the University of Southern Maine. He was an assistant coach at Deering, coached the Maine Metro premier program and took over at Waynflete in 2009, just as the Flyers were coming off their first Class C title. Waynflete got to the regional final in 2009 and 2011, but could go no further.

This season, there were some red flags in the preseason.

“I knew we’d be good on defense, but the concern was offense,” Dominski said.

The Flyers struggled at times early on and ultimately settled for four ties, but the improvement was steady and by the postseason, Waynflete liked its chances.

“Our breakout game was against Freeport (rallying from a 2-0 second half deficit to win, 3-2, in overtime),” Dominski said. “That gave us the confidence we could play from behind. The second Old Orchard Beach game was also big. We had to win to avoid dropping in playoff seeding.”

The Flyers went into the postseason ranked fourth and held off Wiscasset in the quarterfinals, erupted for four second half goals to upset top-ranked Lisbon in the semis, then avenged last year’s agonizing ouster with an overtime victory over St. Dom’s in the regional final. Waynflete trailed in the second half of the Class C state game, but rallied to beat Fort Kent, 3-2, as sure enough, the offense delivered when it had to.

After the season, Dominski learned he’s a nominee for the prestigious Region 1 Coach of the Year award for private schools.

Dominski is still an active player. He works for East Brown Cow Management in Portland, lives in Windham with his wife and three children and hopes to coach for a long time to come.

He’s certainly shown the ability to deliver the goods. Todd Dominski, our girls’ team Coach of the Year, pulled all the right strings this fall and helped the Flyers soar to the pinnacle.

Prior winners:

2011: Beth Arsenault (Portland field hockey)

2010: Noelle Surette (Waynflete field hockey)

2009: Amy McMullin (Cheverus field hockey)

2008: Ziggy Gillespie (Waynflete cross country)

2007: Patsy Fowler (Cheverus field hockey)

2006: Dave Levasseur (Portland soccer)

2005: Tim Donovan (McAuley cross country)

2004: Jon Shardlow (Waynflete soccer)

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