It's March! That means only 1 thing.. Madness! NCAA tournaments. Basketball and hockey! Great time of year!
Let's start with the obvious! The University of Maine women's basketball team. They are back on top of the mountain with an America East Championship and a spot in the big dance! It is way past time, but Maine has finally sent the message that women's basketball in America East now runs through Orono, or Bangor..whatever.
Maine is set up nicely to have an extended period of success. Coach Amy Vachon is more than deserving of the permanent coaching contract she received, or EARNED. For the men, another disappointing season to say the least. The inevitable coaching change came swiftly and I for one and very excited to have Richard Barron taking over the reigns of this program.
There are some basketball social circles that think Maine should have brought in an assistant from another school because he had ties to Maine despite having zero Head Coaching experience at any level. Of course those same circles spend their time pining away for the days of Skip Chapelle, playing in the Pit and think that the entire roster should be kids form Maine.
The University made the correct decision. Coach Barron took over the dumpster fire that WAS the women's program and returned it to relevance. Nobody in their right mind should think he won't do any different with the men's program.
Maine hockey had a tremendous season. Unless you are simply blinded by your anti Gendron bias, you can see that this program made great strides this year. There is no shame in getting bounced out of the HE Quarterfinals by Providence. They lost two very close one- goal games on the road in the playoffs.
Coach Red will continue to build from this experience and Maine will be back in Boston for the Hockey East Final Four next year. The NCAA tournament will not be far behind. We can safely declare that Maine hockey is back.. kind of. Still some work to be done, but the future is bright.
In a couple of weeks, the Maine baseball team will return to Orono to start their home schedule. This is a really good team, with several local kids making a difference. Led by Bangor's own Justin Courtney, they are poised to do great things this spring. I hope people will take the time to go and see some really good baseball.
The conference tournament will be held in Orono this year and that is a great opportunity for folks to support OUR Black Bears in their quest for another NCAA tournament appearance. Go Maine.
I am always happy to discuss Maine sports so if you are so inclined, drop me a line :