DIXFIELD — It was a short speech that marked the end of an era and a new beginning Sunday night.

Gavin Kane, the longtime basketball coach at Dirigo High School in Dixfield,  has resigned his position to accept the assistant women’s basketball position at the University of Maine.

Kane gave his players the news Sunday evening during a gathering at the Western Mountain Hoop Camp. He’ll start his full-time position at Orono on Wednesday.

“It was a little bit emotional when I spoke with the team last evening,” Kane said. “After 15 years of my basketball life, it was quite difficult to say good bye. I was very appreciative of the kids. They stood up and started clapping for me, which caught me by surprise at that moment.”

Kane will join Cindy Blodgett’s staff at Maine, where he’ll help with on-floor coaching, recruiting, film evaluation, running camps and various administrative duties.

“It has been a professional goal of mine to coach at the collegiate level for a number of years now,” Kane said. “About a year ago, I took more serious steps into looking at possible college coaching opportunities, and when the position at Maine opened late this spring, I was very interested in applying.”

Kane coached the girls’ basketball team at Dirigo for 13 years,
turning it into one of the state’s most successful programs. The
Cougars went 263-17 overall during that time and set a state record for
11 straight regional titles and added six state championships. He has
coached the boys’ team the last four years, going 74-10.

“During my career there at Dirigo, I had several other opportunities to
move to a different school,” Kane said. “At those times, I did not feel
they were right. My loyalty to the Dirigo program won out in each of
those cases. This certainly is an opportunity that I’m very excited
about and definitely could not let slip by.”

Kane also served as an assistant with the men’s program at the University of Maine-Farmington. He has  been a baseball recruiter and scout for Bates College. He was the head coach of the Maine Hurricanes AAU squad that won six state titles in the 1990s and also coached baseball, softball and golf at the high school level.

“Gavin has an unparalleled track record of success coaching both men’s and women’s basketball,” said Blodgett in a statement Monday. “I’m confident that he will impact our program in multiple ways, both on and off the court. Gavin is driven, a person of integrity and has incredible passion for the game of basketball.”

Kane coached the Rangeley boys’ and won a state title there in 1989. When he arrived in Dirigo in 1994, the girls’ program quickly became a championship contender. During his 13 years, he won 124 consecutive games, including 136 straight in the Mountain Valley Conference. He also won 12 straight MVC titles and was the coach of the year five times. He began coaching the boys’ program as well in 2005. The boys’ improved to a 15-3 mark the first year and then went 17-1 the last three, including the Western C title last season. During that time, Kane reached his milestone 400th career win and won three MVC titles.

Kane has groomed an abundance of players for the collegiate level, including Alexa Kaubris at Bowdoin and Nikki Dominiczak at the University of Southern Maine. Two of his players, Lyndsay Clark and Thomas Knight, earned Division I scholarships to Albany and Notre Dame, respectively.

“Over the years, I’ve had so many wonderful kids and coaches,” Kane said. “I continue to stay in touch with many of them. I also had the opportunity to develop many lasting friendships through the SAD 21 communities.”

Kane leaves behind a coaching staff he has worked closely with for many years, including assistants Rebecca Fletcher, Matt Clark and Greg Gagne. It has been a special working relationship that Kane says he will sorely miss. Fletcher and Clark will continue to run the summer hoop camp for the final few weeks.

“I could never thank Matt, Rebecca and Greg enough for all they’ve done for me and for the Cougar program,” said Kane. “We’ve all been very loyal to each other and to the Dirigo basketball program. It certainly has been a pleasure to work with them for a number of years. I also had the opportunity to coach with both my brothers (Mike and Tim) and Kip Fletcher and Tom Fifield. They were very important parts of our program at one point.”

Blodgett has coached the Maine women’s program for the last two years and went 5-25 last year. Kane said he has enjoyed his conversations with her about the program and instantly recognized the work ethic she displayed as a player. He is excited to work with her and have the chance to coach at Maine. Kane has had an interest in jumping to the collegiate level, but even the best of high school coaches often find it difficult to receive consideration for college job openings.

“To have the opportunity to coach college hoops here in Maine, and to be able to do so at the Division I level is a dream come true,” he said. “To be able to be on Coach Blodgett’s staff certainly is a privilege. In my two meetings with her, it was very easy to see the drive that she has, and the vision she has for the Maine women’s basketball program. I very much look forward to being a part of that.”

Kane is also excited about the future of the Dirigo boys’ program. The Cougars graduated three players, but return a promising group that could keep Dirigo in the tournament hunt.

“One thing I’m proud of is that I feel like I’m leaving the program in excellent shape,” Kane said. “I’ve never wanted to be one of those coaches that leave when things aren’t looking good for the program or come in when things are looking wonderful. We have a good core group of players returning and have some outstanding young players coming up through the system.”


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