When I was a kid I had much better manners than I have today. My parents always made me sit down and write thank you notes. Today, I don’t write as many as I should, but I think this is a great time to revive the lost art with a thank you note to Richard Barron.
Coach- thank you for reviving the U Maine Women’s basketball program.
When you left the big time ranks at Baylor to resuscitate this barely breathing program, it must have taken a big leap of faith, even for a man of faith like yourself.
Of course faith makes things possible, not easy. A tough few first years when wins were scarce; a frightening bus accident; a playoff upset loss and more. But today it’s clear you have succeeded in waking up a Black Bear program from nearly a decade of hibernation.
Really it’s more than an awakening. It’s a revival. Maine won just 4 games the year before you arrived. Heck, Cindy Blodgett only amassed 24 wins in her four years as coach.
Your team won 26 this year alone.
I don’t know you well, really only through your interviews with us on The Drive on 92.9 FM. But I suspect it’s time for you to be moving on to your next resurrection project. And that’s okay. You have done what you came here to do.
From your time at Baylor, you’ve had a taste of the bright lights and big stage and after years of overnight bus trips back from Binghamton and Burlington, you must be understandably ready for the next step.
Many of your coaching predecessors in Orono have gone on to bigger schools. Trish Roberts. Joanne Palombo-McCallie. Sharon Versyp. And now I think it’s your time. Of all of those fine folks, I think you are leaving more talent behind, which should make for a smoother transition for Coach Steelman, or whoever gets the job next. You have also drawn up the blue print for them to continue to build on your success.
I do know family is important to you. So maybe you will raise your kids here a bit longer. Or maybe the right opportunity isn’t out there. Yet. But I know any school would be lucky to have you, and I am sure you are a candidate for more than one vacancy.
You won’t be soon forgotten. Black Bear supporters should all wish you continued success with extreme gratitude for what you have done for women’s basketball at U Maine.
I don’t write it enough these days, but I do now as it’s appropriate here.
Jeff Solari co-hosts The Drive 4pm-6pm weekdays on 92.9fm The Ticket. Follow Jeff on Twitter @SolariJeff. For more from The Drive: Follow us @929TheDrive on Twitter and Like us Facebook 92.9 The Drive.