Brian Jahna was hired to do for Gray-New Gloucester what he did at Lake Region – build a struggling high school football program to respectability.
“The structure is really there in community throughout the levels and there’s just incredible excitement around football there,” Jahna said. “It’s just a matter of tapping into some of those things, and I really believe we can have success quickly and in the long run.”
Jahna resigned as Lake Region coach in January after six years, saying he needed a break, and that he felt good about where he was leaving the program.
Jahna took over a moribund program that was on the cusp of dropping to a junior varsity only level.
Lake Region did not win more than two games in Jahna’s first five seasons.
In 2017 the Lakers turned the corner, going 5-3 in the regular season. It was Lake Region’s first winning season since 2004 and first playoff appearance in a decade. Lake Region lost to Cape Elizabeth, the eventual Class C South champ, 50-7, in the regional quarterfinals.
“Brian brings with him a tremendous level of character and program-building experience that we are excited about,” said Gray-NG Athletic Director Scott Walker in an email.
Jahna replaces Duane Greaton, who resigned before his first season was complete when it was learned he encouraged his team to taunt a Yarmouth player because both of the player’s parents are women.
Three of Jahna’s Lake Region teams won sportsmanship awards.
“We pride ourselves on being a character-focused program,” said Jahna, a Lake Region teacher. “We feel we win that way, not in spite of it. We focus on how we act, and talk, and treat each other. It’s a huge emphasis for our programs and to be recognized for that meant a lot.”
Jahna was replaced at Lake Region by Mike Shea, who had been the defensive coordinator. Shea, a resident of Naples, is a graduate of Lake Region.
“Brian did a fantastic job cultivating our program and our culture, and we really took a couple of giant steps forward last season,” said Lakers Athletic Director Paul True, adding he’s excited about the hiring of Shea and “I think all those around the program are, too.”