POLAND – One of the reasons Dave Jordan has devoted his life to coaching baseball is he enjoys seeing kids commit to bettering themselves on and off the field.

Now, Jordan’s own commitment to his players and the burgeoning Poland Regional High School baseball program is being recognized throughout the Northeast.

Jordan has been named the National High School Baseball Coaches Association District I Coach of the Year for the 2007 season. On Dec. 1, he’ll attend an awards dinner in Oklahoma City, where the National Coach of the Year will be announced among Jordan and his fellow winners from seven other districts around the country.

District I covers New England and New York.

“It’s a great honor,” Jordan said. “I guess it says a lot for what our program is doing, which is exciting.”

He is just the second head coach from Maine to receive the award in its 16-year history. Deering coach Mike D’Andrea won it in 2004.

In 2007, Jordan led the Knights to a 17-2 record and the first Western Maine Conference championship in school history. In three years at Poland, he has a 46-9 record, with two appearances in the Western Class B championship game. His roster has included several all-conference and all-state players, including two-time WMC Player of the Year and 2007 Mr. Maine Baseball finalist Joe Douglass. The Knights have also won two sportsmanship awards in Western Maine in the last three years.

Poland athletic director Don King described Jordan as the “pied piper of baseball,” one who works tirelessly year-round at his craft and promoting baseball in the Poland region, whether it’s coaching a Junior American Legion team in the summer or running youth clinics in the winter.

“I think the most successful coaches don’t just coach their sport, but they coach their kids,” said King, a former baseball coach at Lewiston. “Even though Dave is not a full-time employee in our school, he has a presence year-round. I’ll see him at football games, soccer games, basketball games, and the kids know that he’s not just interested in them as a baseball player but as a person as well.”

Jordan, who attended Springfield College, has a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation services, a master’s in occupational therapy and works at Spurwink School in Auburn, took a rather unconventional route to get into coaching. He helped out on his father Dave’s Little League team when he was 13, then started running his own Babe Ruth team, the Apple Valley All-Stars, when he was 19. He coached at Monmouth Middle School and helped out Keith Morang with some successful Monmouth Academy teams before former Poland athletic director Susan Robbins hired him to guide a rudderless Poland program before the 2005 season.

“I just love to see people come in and get into something that’s bigger than themselves and commit to the team atmosphere and get really excited about the game,” Jordan said. “I like to see people go out and push their limits and help the team perform at a high level, be able to accept roles and be positive and learn about not just what they’re doing on the field but what they can take into life. There is a lot to be learned through sport, and I think when we do all those things right, the result shows on the field.”

He said he looks at the award as one for his players, assistant coaches and the community as a whole.

“I think you can have a grand scheme of what you want to do, but you can’t do it if you don’t have the backing of great assistant coaches, which I think we do with Walt Carey, Dave Sawyer and Charlie Pray, and the support of a great AD like Don King,” he said. “I know my name’s on there, but I look at it as Poland Regional High School is on there. That means a lot more to me personally.”


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