Portland edition Winter Coaches of the Year

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Boys’ Team

DAN LUCAS—Cheverus hockey

The Cheverus boys’ hockey team is once again among the premier programs in the state and Lucas is a big reason why. Lucas completed rebuilding the program this winter, leading the Stags to the regional final and earning our Portland edition Winter Coach of the Year honors, for a boys’ team in the process.

Lucas grew up in British Columbia, Canada, played for a provincial championship Junior team, attended the University of British Columbia, played with Wayne Gretzky in his final year of juniors, then briefly played with National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers, before finishing his playing career with the Maine Mariners in 1983.

Lucas was first affiliated with Cheverus when his kids went to school there. What he lacked in coaching experience when he took over in 2009, he made up for in knowledge of the game.

Lucas inherited a once-proud squad coming off consecutive three-win seasons and in his first year, led the Stags to nine wins and a playoff berth. Cheverus then made the playoffs each of the past four seasons, but last year ended in disappointment when the Stags were upset in the quarterfinals by Noble/Wells.

This time around, with a talented roster, Cheverus was clearly a promising team from the get-go, opening with an overtime victory over Lewiston and closing with a thrilling one-goal win over Scarborough. The Stags earned the second seed in Western A and after dominating Lake Region/Fryeburg/Oxford Hills in the quarterfinals (12-1), they avenged last year’s ouster with a 6-1 semifinal round victory over Noble/Wells to earn a regional final trip for the first time since 2006. While Cheverus wasn’t able to complete its title dream, losing, 5-2, to eventual state champion Scarborough, the season was an unmitigated success.

“It was fun,” Lucas said. “The kids had a good time. We ended up better than we started. I always enjoy seeing freshmen develop physically and emotionally to when they’re seniors.”

While Lucas comes across as “old school,” his players respond well to his guidance.

“Coach has always been a strong character guy,” said Cheverus senior and Winter Male Athlete of the Year James Hannigan. “He’s been there for me and he believed in me. He has a tremendous amount of knowledge.”

Lucas lives in Cumberland and owns Lucas Real Estate. He looks forward to next year, even though the Stags’ roster will have a very different look.

He’s prepared to push the right buttons to lead his team that final step to the pinnacle and it wouldn’t be wise to bet against him. Dan Lucas, our Portland edition boys’ team Winter Coach of the Year, has parlayed his hockey knowledge into success in the coaching ranks.

Previous winners:

2013-14: Joe Russo (Portland basketball)

2012-13: Rich Henry (Waynflete basketball)

2011-12: Dan LeGage (Deering basketball)

2010-11: Joe Russo (Portland basketball)

2009-10: Bob Brown (Cheverus basketball)

2008-09: Kevin Haley (Cheverus swimming)

2007-08: Bob Brown (Cheverus basketball)

2006-07: Bob Brown (Cheverus basketball)

2005-06: Dan LeGage (Deering basketball)

2004-05: Jack Lowry (Cheverus hockey)

2003-04: Joe Russo (Portland basketball)

Girls’ team

BILLY GOODMAN, McAuley basketball

If there were any doubts about Goodman’s coaching ability, and there shouldn’t have been, they were dispelled this winter, when he took a McAuley roster lacking its usual star-power to within a few possessions of the opportunity to play for yet another state championship.

For overcoming some seismic personnel losses in the offseason, for developing talent across the board and for putting the right pieces in the right places frequently enough to produce a 19-game win streak, Goodman gets our nod as our Portland edition Winter Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.

Goodman also won the award in the fall of 2008 for his work with the Deering golf team and in the winter of 2009, with Greely’s girls’ basketball team.

Goodman was a standout golfer in high school and college and began coaching basketball with Mike D’Andrea at Deering. He rose from the role of scorekeeper to assistant coach and helped turn the Rams into a powerhouse. Goodman left Deering after its championship season in 2007-08 to take over at Greely, where he had three strong seasons (posting a record of 51-11). In 2011-12, he replaced Amy Vachon at McAuley and inherited a championship team. Goodman then led the Lions to undefeated titles in 2012 and 2013 and to another crown in 2014.

This season was something altogether different, but very rewarding just the same.

The McAuley juggernaut lost Miss Maine Basketball, Allie Clement, as well as two other standouts, Olivia Smith and Jackie Welch, to college and the player many expected to lead the Lions this winter, Victoria Lux, instead transferred to Thornton Academy in the offseason. That left Goodman and his excellent staff (Dawn Armandi, Peter Litman, Wade Millett and Bill Whitmore) with their biggest challenge. While McAuley had some talented players, few of them had seen much varsity time and in a season where the league seemed more balance than it had in years, there wasn’t much time for a learning curve.

Sure enough, the Lions lost on Opening Night at Thornton Academy, but it wasn’t long before this group came of age. McAuley’s calling card all season was defense and the Lions played it superbly. While the offense came and went, McAuley managed to rattle off 17 wins in a row, including a revenge victory over the Golden Trojans, and earned the top seed for the tournament for the fourth year in a row.

The Lions would fight off Portland and South Portland to make it to the regional final for the fifth year in a row, but there, they had to play without injured junior Sarah Clement and they just couldn’t generate enough offense, falling to Thornton Academy to bring to an end one of the great reigns in Maine girls’ basketball history.

“It was a very good season,” said Goodman, who is now 84-3 with McAuley and 135-14 overall. “It was a lot of hard work by the players and the coaches. Everyone had to do extra. We improved. I give the players a lot of credit. I had the time of my life coaching this team.”

Goodman, who lives in Falmouth with wife, Jodie, and children, Aaron and Anna, will be chomping at the bit to get McAuley back to the top in 2015-16.

Don’t be surprised if that’s exactly what transpires. Billy Goodman, our Portland edition girls’ team Winter Coach of the Year, is as passionate, motivated and talented as they come.

Previous winners:

2013-14: Kevin Haley (Cheverus swimming)

2012-13: Brandon Salway (Waynflete basketball)

2011-12: Brandon Salway (Waynflete basketball)

2010-11: Amy Vachon (McAuley basketball)

2009-10: J.P. Lavoie (Cheverus hockey)

2008-09: Mike Murphy (Deering basketball)

2007-08: John Smith (McAuley swimming)

2006-07: Jan Veinot (Waynflete basketball)

2005-06: Kevin Campbell (Deering track)

2004-05: Lindsay Reagan (Waynflete Nordic skiing)

2003-04: Mike D’Andrea (Deering basketball)

Other edition winners:

Northern: David St. Pierre (Yarmouth hockey), Joel Rogers (Greely basketball)

Southern: Norm Gagne (Scarborough hockey), Chris Casterella (Cape Elizabeth basketball)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@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.