Portland edition Spring Coaches of the Year

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Boys’ team:

Jeff Madore, Waynflete tennis

The beat goes on and on and on.

Waynflete’s boys’ tennis program continues to have no peer, as it won a record ninth consecutive Class C state title this spring.

Plaques and championship celebrations have become a rite of June, but they don’t just happen and for perpetuating this dynasty at a stratospheric level, Jeff Madore gets The Forecaster’s nod as our Portland edition Spring Coach of the Year of a boys’ team.

Madore also received Coach of the Year in 2013.

Madore grew up in Rockland playing the “big three” sports, football, basketball and baseball. He played baseball for a short time at the University of Maine and took up tennis as an adult.

His first coaching job was with the Waynflete girls in 2002 and five years later, Madore took over the boys’ program. His first season, 2007, the Flyers fell short of a championship, but every year since, Waynflete has taken home the hardware.

This season was a familiar story, as the Flyers had some holes to fill, but Madore put all the right pieces in the right places.

Waynflete stumbled just twice in the regular season, losing to two-time defending Class A champion Falmouth and three-time defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth.

As usual, the Flyers weren’t the top seed for the playoffs, they were ranked fourth, but they had no problem navigating the regional field, dropping just one point in three maches. 

Once again, Waynflete’s state match foe was George Stevens Academy and once more, the Flyers were at their best on the biggest stage, taking a 4-1 victory to make it nine straight titles, which is the most by a boys’ team in state history.

Madore, a retired chemical engineer who lives in Falmouth, looks to guide Waynflete to a 10th consecutive crown in 2017.

Based on history, that’s a safe bet. Jeff Madore, our Portland edition Spring Coach of the Year of a boys’ team, continues to push all the right buttons and motivate his charges to greatness. His program has no peer.

Previous winners:

2015 Mike Rutherford (Portland baseball)

2014 Steve Virgilio (Cheverus track)

2013 Jeff Madore (Waynflete tennis)

2012 Deke Andrew (Cheverus lacrosse)

2011 Mac McKew (Cheverus baseball)

2010 Steve Kautz (Waynflete baseball)

2009 Eric Begonia (Portland lacrosse)

2008 Mike D’Andrea (Deering baseball)

2007 Mike D’Andrea (Deering baseball)

2006 Stephane Pejic (Waynflete tennis)

2005 Eric Begonia (Portland lacrosse)

2004 Mike D’Andrea (Deering baseball)

Girls’ team:

Robbie Ferrante, Portland softball

This spring’s darlings, the Portland softball team, achieved more than anyone dreamed and produced some memorable victories.

Leading the way was a coach, Robbie Ferrante, who knows the program (and its glory days) better than anyone, a coach who has restored the Bulldogs to prominence and has them poised for even bigger things.

For putting the pieces in place for Portland’s stirring resurgence, Robbie Ferrante is our choice for our Portland edition Spring Coach of the Year for a girls’ team.

Ferrante also was named Coach of the Year in 2010, when he was at McAuley.

Ferrante has been a part of Portland High in one manner or another for nearly a half-century, graduating in 1972. Ferrante started coaching softball at McAuley, then spent 17 years with the Bulldogs over two stints. He led Portland to the 2004 Class A state title, the program’s most recent championship.

Ferrante left the Bulldogs after the 2008 program and after taking 2009 off, he returned to McAuley and led the Lions to their best finish ever in 2011 when they made the semifinals. He went 40-44 in five seasons and left McAuley after the 2014 season.

By 2015, Ferrante was back in Portland. The Bulldogs went just 4-12 his first season, but everything clicked this spring.

An early shutout win over Cheverus (behind a no-hitter from new ace Jess Brown) set the tone. After nearly knocking off perennial powerhouse Thornton Academy, Portland beat South Portland for the first time in 11 years, then downed Biddeford (also for the first time since 2005). That victory over the eventual Class A champions sparked a 4-1 stretch to finish the year and the Bulldogs earned a winning record for the first time since 2005.

The fun was just beginning.

In the preliminary round, Portland’s first playoff game since 2008, the Bulldogs got to host a postseason contest for the first time in 11 years and was it ever memorable. 

Portland welcomed Marshwood and had far more luck than it did in the teams’ regular season meeting (a 5-0 Hawks’ win behind a one-hitter). The Bulldogs scored an early run, but Marshwood rallied to lead, 2-1, going to the seventh. There, Morgan Boyle’s mad dash home saved the season and forced extra innings and in the eighth, Taylor Crosby tripled and scored the winning run when Gianna Gaudet singled her home, unleashing a wild celebration.

It was Portland’s first playoff victory since 2006.

Bulldogs Magic finally ran out in the quarterfinals with a loss to powerhouse Scarborough, but what a ride it was.

“The girls worked hard and it paid off,” said Ferrante. “I had a lot of fun this year. This is a good group to be around.”

Ferrante has also served as Portland’s assistant boys’ basketball coach for a decade and served in the same capacity at Cheverus for four years. He works for Rudy’s All-Star Diner in Portland (which used to be his Dad’s place) and lives in Saco with wife, Gail.

He and his team have a lot to look forward to. Robbie Ferrante, our Portland edition girls’ team Spring Coach of the Year, has re-established the pride and the wins have followed. Thanks to his efforts, the Bulldogs are back.

Previous winners:

2015 Cameron McManus (Portland lacrosse)

2014 Maureen Curran (Cheverus softball)

2013 Jamie Chamberlain (Cheverus lacrosse)

2012 Cathie Connors (Waynflete lacrosse)

2011 Linda Cohen (Waynflete tennis)

2010 Robbie Ferrante (McAuley softball)

2009 Bonnie Moran (Portland tennis)

2008 Cathie Connors (Waynflete lacrosse)

2007 Jamie Chamberlain (Cheverus lacrosse)

2006 Jamie Chamberlain (Cheverus lacrosse)

2005 Rick Supinski (Cheverus softball)

2004 Cathie Connors (Waynflete lacrosse)

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

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