Portland edition Fall Coaches of the Year

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While it ultimately fell one painful goal shy of glory, Portland’s boys’ soccer team enjoyed a memorable magic carpet ride this fall, surprising many by winning the regional title for just the third time in program history.

What wasn’t surprising was that the Bulldogs were formidable by the end of the season and fought hard throughout, program hallmarks that were long ago installed by Rocco Frenzilli.

For once again leading Portland to great things, Rocco Frenzilli gets the Forecaster’s nod as our Portland edition Coach of the Year, of a boys’ team.

Frenzilli also won Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2013.

Frenzilli grew up in Portland and graduated from Cheverus, where he ran track. He attended Niagara University where he tried soccer and made the team. Frenzilli returned to Portland, got his teaching certificate and was asked 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 ever since.

After reaching the regional final a year ago, losing a heartbreaker to Gorham, Portland was one of many teams viewed as a contender this season. The Bulldogs started 9-1, then struggled through an 0-2-1 stretch when they struggled scoring goals, but Portland got back on track with a come-from-behind victory over Thornton Academy in the finale.

As the No. 4 seed in Class A South, the Bulldogs vanquished longtime nemesis and powerhouse Scarborough in the quarterfinals, ousted upset-minded Thornton Academy in the semifinals and finally Gorham, in a sweet-revenge penalty kicks decision in the regional final. That victory was the 220th of Frenzilli’s career. Portland then battled Lewiston through 80 scoreless minutes before losing in frustrating fashion (off a free kick that the Bulldogs felt shouldn’t have been awarded) in overtime.

“The guys stuck together and believed in each other and trusted us,” Frenzilli said. “There wasn’t any type of in-fighting. I’m so pleased and proud of that. Everyone worked together to make us better. It was a fun group.”

Frenzilli, who recently retired from teaching at Portland High, lives in Falmouth with his wife, Kathy. Even at the age of 69, Frenzilli has more energy than many half his age, and the hope is he’ll continue to coach for many more years.

That’s because Rocco Frenzilli, our Portland edition boys’ team Coach of the Year, is a leader, a mentor and a coach who gets the most out of his players, every single season.

Prior winners:

2016 Frank Myatt (Deering cross country)

2015 Jason Jackson (Deering football)

2014 Colin Minte (Cheverus soccer)

2013 Rocco Frenzilli (Portland soccer)

2012 John Wolfgram (Cheverus football)

2011 Brandon Salway (Waynflete soccer)

2010 Rocco 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)



From day one this fall, the Deering volleyball team stole headlines. The Rams, in just their third varsity season, opened with a stunning upset of perennial powerhouse Scarborough and went on to win their first 12 matches. Deering even had the top seed for the Class A playoffs and while the Rams weren’t able to cap their storybook run with a state title, they put themselves on the map for good.

Pulling the strings and making Deering a contender faster than anyone could have dreamed was Larry Nichols, who like a mad scientist, found the right ingredients for greatness.

In light of his success in making the Rams a power in dizzying fashion, Larry Nichols gets The Forecaster’s nod as our Portland edition Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.

Nichols has long been a fixture at Deering as a tennis and basketball coach. He played volleyball in adult leagues, but, like his players, largely started cold when the varsity program began in 2014.

The Rams made the playoffs in 2016, but no one could have anticipated what came next this fall. After upsetting Scarborough in a five-set thriller in the opener, the wins kept coming until Biddeford finally knocked Deering from the unbeaten ranks. As the top seed for the Class A playoffs, the Rams won a postseason match for the first time, downing Bonny Eagle in the quarterfinal. Deering was then upset by South Portland in the semifinals, preventing the Rams from facing Scarborough again in the state match, but 14 wins later, there’s little question that the season was a resounding success.

“I was so proud of the kids,” Nichols said. “It was a magical year for the club.”

Nichols, who also teaches technology at Deering and lives with his daughter in Falmouth, knows that he and his teams will face expectations in 2018, but welcomes the challenge.

Larry Nichols, our Portland edition Fall girls’ team Coach of the Year, helped write a feel-good story and we haven’t heard the last of the Rams.

Prior winners:

2016 Craig Roberts (Cheverus soccer)

2015 Amy Ashley (Cheverus field hockey)

2014 Arthur Mosen (Portland soccer)

2013 Todd Dominski (Waynflete soccer)

2012 Todd Dominski (Waynflete soccer)

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)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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