Chris Aube would take in his share of high school basketball games while trying to recruit for his college team.

Each time, he couldn’t help but get an urge to try coaching at that level.

“I’ve been itching to get into high school basketball,” said Aube. “I’ve been going to those tournaments recruiting, and I was thinking: ‘I’d like to be part of that.'”

So when the job at Gray-New Gloucester opened, it seemed like a perfect opportunity for the Westbrook native.

“The idea of being able to build a program was great, but I felt they had already established a level of success,” said Aube. “So I didn’t think it would be a complete rebuilding job. They’ve had stability in the coaches. They’ve had good coaching there. The feeder system is outstanding. They’ve got a great rec department. So as far being ready to turn things around, they’re right there.”

Aube replaces Harvey Moynihan, who stepped down after three seasons. The Patriots went 24-30 during that stretch and made the playoffs all three years. Moynihan followed Ken Butler, who coached the team to three appearances in the Western B final, including two trips to the state game.

“The girls’ basketball there is important,” said Aube. “They expect to be successful. That’s a challenge that I wanted. I want that community support.”

Aube played high school ball for Art Dyer in Westbrook and went to Southern Maine Community College and Thomas College. He was an assistant men’s coach at SMCC and assisted Mark Karter at Westbrook for a year before coaching at Thomas for 11 years. He coached both basketball and soccer there.

“It was time,” said Aube about leaving Thomas. “Eleven years is a long time in one place. It was good for both parties.”

It has allowed Aube to see players at another stage. As a college coach, he’d often get a finished product, with habits, both good and bad, already developed.

“I get them as 14-year olds where I can really make a difference fundamentally on how they play the game,” said Aube.

Aube has had 26 players out for summer basketball so far and has between 12 and 16 kids in the weight room regularly in the mornings. He’s excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. Though G-NG graduated five experienced seniors, he has a young group led by Chelsey Durgin, Rachel Clement and Terri-Lynn Sanborn, all of whom saw ample minutes last year.

“I’m having a blast, and I think a lot of that has to do with the kids,” said Aube, who is also coaching at Hoop Camp in Casco this week. “They’re showing up for work every night. It’s just a good group. The enthusiasm that the kids bring night in and night out has been good for me.”

As a college coach, he said his style would be tweaked each year depending on the crop of talent he had coming in. Aube says he intends to teach athletes how to be basketball players and not just have them run an assortment of plays. He expects his club to be defensive oriented and hard working.

“Year in and year out, it’s a place where we’re going to be competitive,” said Aube. “It’s a blue-collar town with a strong work ethic. That’s going to mold well with what I’m about. They’re kind of like the kids I played with at Westbrook.”

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