Southern edition Coaches of the Year

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Coach of the year is another very difficult award to bestow. There are so many devoted and excellent candidates. These awards were not necessarily awarded to a man and a woman, but to the top coach of a boys’ team and the top coach of a girls’ team.

Spring 2011 Southern Edition Coach of the Year—Boys’ Team

CRAIG MCDONALD—SCARBOROUGH TENNIS

Sometimes banging at the door repeatedly really does lead to a desired result.

For three straight seasons, the Scarborough boys’ tennis reached the regional final but advanced no further.

This spring, the Red Storm finally finished the job.

While Scarborough had an abundance of talented and driven players, much of the program’s success has to be attributed to longtime coach Craig McDonald, who has turned an also-ran into a championship contender and earned his just desserts by leading the Red Storm to the state final this year.

He’s due plenty of acclaim for his work, so here’s another accolade. Craig McDonald is The Forecaster’s selection for our Spring 2011 Southern edition Coach of the Year, of a boys’ team.

McDonald also won the award in 2007.

McDonald grew up in Westbrook, playing football, baseball and running track. He went to school at St. Joseph’s College and became a serious tennis player and got involved in coaching.

He helped Windham High get its football and tennis programs off the ground in 1997, then came to Scarborough in 2001. He’s been a longtime football assistant and has been along for the ride as that program has gone from almost instant champion to downtrodden back to the upper tier.

In the spring, he’s created a powerhouse. McDonald only won nine matches his first four seasons, but the program really turned the corner in 2007, winning 12 matches before losing to Windham in the semifinals. The next year, Scarborough got to the regional final for the first time, but lost to Cheverus. Back-to-back regional final losses to nemesis Windham followed, but this year, everything came together.

The Red Storm won their first 11 matches, then dropped a 3-2 decision to Kennebunk in the finale to wind up second in Western A. This time, there would be no stopping Scarborough in the playoffs as it sandwiched 3-2 victories over Gorham and Kennebunk around a 5-0 triumph over Deering. The Red Storm’s run ended with a 4-1 setback to perennial champion Lewiston in the state match, but Scarborough had at last made it to the season’s final day.

McDonald has created a program that figures to be in the hunt every season and it’s only a matter of time until the Red Storm win it all.

That’s because they have a coach that has stuck with it and is now earning his dividends. Craig McDonald, our Spring 2011 Southern edition boys’ team Coach of the Year, finally got his well-deserved happy ending.

* 2010 winner: Ben Raymond (Cape Elizabeth lacrosse)

* 2009 winner: Jim Cronin (Scarborough baseball)

* 2008 winner: Joe Hezlep (Scarborough lacrosse)

* 2007 winner: Craig McDonald (Scarborough tennis)

* 2006 winner: Tobey Farrington (Scarborough lacrosse)

* 2005 winner: Dave Weatherbie (Cape Elizabeth track)

* 2004 winner: Todd Day (Cape Elizabeth baseball)

* 2003 winner: Ben Raymond (Cape Elizabeth lacrosse)

* 2002 winner: Andy Strout (Cape Elizabeth boys’ tennis)

Spring 2011 Southern Edition Coach of the Year—Girls’ Team

MARCIA WOOD—SCARBOROUGH LACROSSE

The perfect Storm of 2010 wasn’t supposed to give way to another championship this spring, but on the afternoon of June 18, Scarborough’s girls’ lacrosse team once again was the best Class A team in the state.

That makes two titles in a row and three since 2006 and the Red Storm now belongs in the same breath as Waynflete, Yarmouth and North Yarmouth Academy as the state’s most triumphant programs.

Considering Scarborough was an also-ran when Marcia Wood took over the program in 2005, she deserves a ton of praise for turning this program into a juggernaut.

The Forecaster agrees and as a result, Marcia Wood is our choice for Spring 2011 Southern edition Coach of the Year.

Wood played lacrosse and field hockey at Sanford High School and played both sports at Plymouth State. She was a junior varsity field hockey coach in Old Orchard Beach for two seasons then came to Scarborough in 2004, where she coached eighth grade.

When Jamie Chamberlain departed after the 2004 season, Wood took over the girls’ lacrosse program, her first varsity job. The Red Storm won 11 of 13 games her initial season and by year two, bounced back from a five-game season-ending losing streak and a .500 record to stun Brunswick to win the inaugural Class A title.

After playoff heartbreaks in 2007, 2008 and 2009, Scarborough was perfect in 2010, but graduated some key athletes. As a result, the Red Storm was expected to come back to the back this spring and indeed, Scarborough lost early on at home to eventual Class B champ Yarmouth, but that was the only hiccup.

A young team quickly came of age, gained confidence and beat rivals Gorham and Kennebunk when it mattered to earn the top seed in the region. Scarborough then survived a semifinal round upset bid from Thornton Academy and ousted Kennebunk in the regional final to set up a state final date with Brunswick. This time, the Red Storm was expected to win and the team held on and did so, 13-11, giving Wood her 80th victory and more hardware.

“We always have high expectations,” said Wood. “I knew it was possible this year, but I didn’t know if all the girls would adjust that quickly.”

Wood, a Portland resident, is in her fifth year as an ed tech at Scarborough. She’s about to enter her second year as the Deering field hockey coach. Next spring, the Red Storm will once again wear a bulls-eye, but Wood welcomes it.

That’s because she and her team simply win. Marcia Wood, our Spring 2011 Southern edition girls’ team Coach of the Year, has made her mark as one of the state’s finest.

* 2010 winner: Ralph Aceto (South Portland softball)

* 2009 winner: Ralph Aceto (South Portland softball)

* 2008 winner: Tom Griffin (Scarborough softball)

* 2007 winner: Tom Griffin (Scarborough softball)

* 2006 winner: Joe Henrikson (Cape Elizabeth softball)

* 2005 winner: Jim Hartman (South Portland softball)

* 2004 winner: Susan Ray (Cape Elizabeth tennis)

* 2003 winner: Tom Griffin (Scarborough softball)

* 2002 winner: Jack DiBiase (South Portland softball)

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