UMaine Should Add Lacrosse, Plus Rants on Hoops, Hockey and More

4TH & GOAL with THE BAM Huge congrats to Coach Richard Barron on his appointment to Head Coach of our Men's basketball program. This was truly a no brainer! After a former women's basketball player left the women's team in ruins as a failed coach, Mr. Barron came in and brought it back from the dead and now, under Coach Amy Vachon, the women are back atop the America East mountain. Coach Vachon did a great job this year, but a lot of the credit has to fall at the feet of Coach Barron. I am personally looking forward to seeing the same result with the men's program. If he can get the Men's program into the NCAA tournament , we will need to start discussing renaming a street and erecting a sta

Here's What March Madness Looks Like Up Close

There is a first time for everything. The first time you drive a car, the first time you have an adult beverage, and of course, the first time you kiss a girl. Often, first times can be awkward, but they are something you will never forget. I’m 41 years old and I was like a kid in a candy store over the weekend, as I attended my first NCAA men’s tournament basketball games. It wasn’t awkward at all. It was awesome! I went to the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight East Regional games in Boston. No offense to Maine, but this ain’t your typical game at the Cross Center. This is big boy stuff. Here are a few takeaways. Villanova is really good. They are fast, hit big shots and they have a huge fanbas

Gendron Deserves The Extension, UMaine Should Play Games in Bangor, and Other Black Bear Hockey Thou

The news University of Maine hockey fans were expecting finally broke Thursday when it was announced men's hockey coach Red Gendron had signed a two-year contract extension. Gendron, who has behind the Black Bears' bench since 2013, was heading into the final year of an extension he signed prior to the 2015-16 campaign. This deal will keep him in Orono through the 2020-21 season. Was it the right decision? Absolutely. I know the championship-starved Maine hockey fan base is frustrated with the wins and losses, but let's be realistic here. The Black Bears were picked to finish dead last in Hockey East prior to the season. They had finished in either 10th or 11th place each of the prior three

Colby’s Cinderella Run

Ever since Shawn Walsh took the University of Maine Black Bears from Hockey East bottom-feeder to national championship contender overnight back in 1987, March had been a month that hockey fans in our state looked forward to. It meant that the boys of winter from Orono were likely chasing another title. In recent years, those trips to the NCAA tournament have been much fewer and farther between. Maine’s last trip to the national tournament came in 2012, led by Hobey Baker Award finalist Spencer Abbott. But, 2017-18 certainly brought them closer to a return trip. A sixth-place finish in Hockey East and an appearance in the conference quarterfinals was a better finish than the team has had sin

Kevin Reed Is A Great Addition To Maine Men's Basketball Coaching Staff

Last winter I spent several Saturday mornings watching my eleven and eight-year-old nieces play elementary school basketball. I think that it is vital that every school have a strong youth athletic program. My nieces are both very tall for their age and have bits of raw talent. I watched as the coach pulled one of them aside and worked with her for a minute or two on shooting. I thought to myself there is not one person in this gym right now who knows how incredibly blessed they are. Most of the time, the coaches of these youth programs are fathers or mothers of children on the team. Some of them may have played high school basketball, occasionally someone may have played in college. Finding

2018 Red Sox: Get Ready To Order Those World Series Rings

So here we are.... a few days away from the crack of the bat, the smell of fresh cut grass as well as the smell or grilled meat up and down Yawkey Way. Hope springs eternal for the boys of summer who have a new power hitter, a new manager, and new dreams of another World Series title... All the hype in Major League Baseball this off season has been about the Yankees and rightfully so. They have one of the best lineups in modern day baseball history (on paper) and a rock solid bullpen. They also have one of the best young pitchers in the game in Luis Severino. They will score a ton of runs and will be a nightmare matchup for most. That’s a good thing for Red Sox nation. This will not exactly

The End Of The World For The Pats, And I Feel Just Fine

How many of you watch the TV game show, Jeopardy? I stopped watching it for a while, but for the past year, my wife and I do are best to snuggle up on the couch weeknights at 7:30, and I proceed to amaze her with my vast knowledge of European culture. Ok, maybe that is a bit of a stretch. Anyway, in the spirit of Jeopardy, here is the answer to a question: Nate Solder, Dion Lewis, Danny Amendola, and Malcolm Butler. My answer is “What are Toby’s new favorite players in the NFL because they stopped that stupid Patriot Way garbage, and went out and got paid’? Alex Trebek would say, “correct”, and I would take my winning home with me. I absolutely love this. Free agency is normally where the Pa

Does Red Gendron Deserve a Contract Extension? Or To Be Fired?

There are times where a passionate fan base can be its own worst enemy. That tends to happen here in New England, where we've been blessed with a professional football team that considers anything less than making it to a Super Bowl a failure of a season, along with the Patriots, Celtics and Bruins all producing duck boat parades. In the aftermath of the University of Maine hockey team's season ending in last weekend's Hockey East quarterfinals, the keyboard head coaches came out of hibernation, begging for Red Gendron's head on a hockey stick. Some were begging for him to lose his job. Others are worried the University will give Gendron, who is going into the final year of his contract, ano

Patriots: The Wonder Years...I Wonder If The End Is Near?

Here we are again, a familiar position to anybody in Patriot nation over the last two decades. Free agents leaving, questions being asked like "how could they let that guy go"? We have all been here before multiple times. For some reason, this year feels different. This year the faith that "The Hoodie" knows exactly what he is doing seems a little less unconditional. It is certainly fair and understandable why coach Belichick is being questioned this off-season. The multiple reports of at least some form of discourse between ownership, the coach, and star quarterback lends itself to that. Throw in the fact that the team was outcoached in the Super Bowl (we won’t even get into the decision of

Memories Of Past UMaine NCAA Tourney Games

Congrats to Amy Vachon and the UMaine Women’s basketball team on winning the America East Tournament and punching their ticket to the “Big Dance.” This is the eighth trip to the NCAA National Tournament for the Black Bears. Through my work as a sports reporter at WLBZ TV and as the women’s play by play guy for WZON, The Sports Zone, I have seen the majority of these games in person. It all started in Cindy Blodgett’s freshman season, 1994-1995. The entire state had Black Bear Fever. Maine complied a stunning 24-6 record but drew UCONN in the first round. For Maine it was still a thrill to take on the top ranked team in the nation, on their home court, in front of a sell out crowd. The Huskie

Sure The Weather Sucks, But March Is An Awesome Sports Month

As I sit in my den catching up on some long overdue paperwork and staring out the window on this beautiful March day, the first thought that comes to my mind is, at this rate, my kids are going to be going to school until July. Having used up the allotted three snow days that the state allows before the turn of the calendar year, and having added on a couple more days already with possibly another storm coming this week, Mother Nature has once again let us feel her wrath right when we thought the end was near. Honestly though, who are we kidding? Yes, we could see a lot of grass, albeit brown grass, but still it was exposed grass on lawns all over the area. Snow piles that accumulated and ne

Madness? There's Nobody Madder Than Me! Rants on March Madness, UMaine Sports, and more!

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 an

Coach Hoodie May Not Care About Facebook, But He Sure Wants To Be Around People He Likes

What happened to in Bill we trust? Does the benching of Malcolm Butler make you view the hooded one in a different light? I have to admit that for the first time in nearly two decades I’m questioning his decision making. The word coming out of Foxboro is that Bill now “only wants to coach players he likes.” WHAT!!?!? I like a grand total of around 11 people in my entire life. He wants to only coach a roster of 53 people he likes??? If you take a step back and look at the bigger moves made over the past few years,. it’s apparent that it’s true. Beyond that, he only makes deals with the people he likes AND when it’s time to move on from he sends HIS guys i.e. Jimmy G and Randy Moss to places

Final thoughts on the Black Bear hockey season...some improvement, but work to be done

Well, that wasn't unexpected, was it? The University of Maine hockey team hasn't beaten Providence since Tim Whitehead was behind the bench, and those woes continued this weekend, with the Friars sweeping Maine out of the Hockey East quarterfinals, 4-3 and 3-2. The frustrating thing for Black Bear Nation is this: Maine could've won both games. The Black Bears should've won Friday, but a couple of questionable calls didn't go Maine's way Friday and Providence rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Saturday, Maine was in a 3-0 hole in the first period, but the Bears fought back to make it interesting, but again, it wasn't enough. It's safe to say at this point Providence is Maine's Kryptonite. Kind of ho

UMaine Baseball: Road Warriors

It’s baseball season. Just look out the window… wait, well maybe that won’t convince you, but it really is. The University of Maine baseball team is in its fourth weekend of action, but has pretty much flown under the radar with the excitement surrounding the UMaine basketball programs. Congrats to coach Amy Vachon and her team on winning the America East title, and good luck in the NCAA Tournament. Congrats to coach Richard Barron on being named men’s basketball coach. I’m excited to see what he will do with that program. Back to baseball. UMaine is in the midst of the early part of its schedule, and the travel has been rigorous to say the least. Texas, Georgia, Florida, back to Texas, and

Richard Barron is the New Maine Men's Basketball Coach

NewsCenter's Lee Goldberg, contributor to the Chowdah, is reporting that Bob Walsh is leaving and Richard Barron will be the next Maine Men's Basketball Head Coach. The official announcement will come later Monday. Below is a blog from Jeff Solari on what Barron brings to the table and how he has his work cut out for him. The Sports Chowdah Video of the Week explains what will need to be done to make the program respectable once again. So Richard Barron is the new men’s basketball coach at the University of Maine. When it comes to rebuilding a basketball program, Barron has been there, and done that. A few times. If he were a chef, he seemingly would have the ability to take table scraps and

42-1-2: Celebrating The 25th Anniversary of The Greatest College Hockey Team Ever

This is the second in our series of 25th anniversary blogs from Joe Carr. Joe was the radio voice of the Black Bears during the 92-93 season. This special series is brought to you by EBS. The sublime Maine Black Bears hockey team of a quarter century ago had it all. As we discussed a few weeks ago, the 42-1-2 national champions may have been the deepest team, when it comes to talent, the sport has ever seen. But there was something else special about that team – its coaching and leadership. The team faced unrelenting pressure, from pre-season through the championship. That was due, in part, to the disappointing way the 1991-92 season ended. That team was on track to the Frozen Four until Mic

March Madness Has a Whole Different Meaning Here In Maine

Back in my WLBZ-TV days, I felt it was my duty as one of the elders (actually, toward the end of my time at the station, the eldest) on the staff to prepare reporters fresh out of college, especially if they were from regions south of Kittery, about the reality of March in Maine. “Don’t be fooled,” I would warn them, “even though the end of February means the end of winter wherever it is you came from, March is a WINTER month here in Maine.” My advice typically fell on deaf ears. “The weather geek is an alarmist,” they likely thought to themselves… “He’s been spending too much time geeking-out with the computer models.” It was painful to watch each year as we broke the February finish-line a

I LOVE the Amy Vachon Hire for UMaine Women's Basketball

Last week during the thrilling Maine win over Albany at the Cross Center I wondered out loud what Amy Vachon would be doing next season? Well, now I know. Vachon has signed a four-year contract with the University of Maine to be head coach of the women's basketball team. While nobody has asked me yet, I’ll say right now I LOVE the hire! Coach Vachon has succeeded at every level of basketball as a player and coach. I’m thrilled to see a Maine native and former Black Bear get this opportunity. I did radio play by play for much of her career at UMaine and was always impressed with her ability to manage a team on the court. She helped lead the Black Bears to four-straight NCAA Tournament appeara

Black Bears Sweep UNH: Providence Is Up Next

Playoff games are not played on paper, but the UMaine hockey team took care of business this weekend against a bad New Hampshire team they were expected to beat. But of course, the Wildcats didn't make it super easy in their first-round playoff series at Alfond Arena. Maine sent longtime UNH bench boss Dick Umile into retirement Saturday with a 3-2 win after a 4-1 triumph on Friday. If you watched both games, which I did, it was clear that Maine was the far better team both nights. UNH's saving grace was, of course, Danny Tirone. Tirone reminds me of a NASCAR driver who finds a way to contend at restrictor-plate tracks when half the field wrecks out, but is always a few laps down at most oth

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