AUBURN — When Dave Morin applied for the job as head coach of the Edward Little soccer program, he was an easy choice for the position.

“Nobody else wanted that job,” says Morin. “It’s the main reason I got it.”

That was 34 years ago. Morin ultimately proved to be the right man for the task. He’s been the only varsity soccer coach the school has ever had. He turned the Red Eddies into one of the most successful and consistent programs in the state.

Late last week, Morin chose to resign as coach. It was the right time to step aside, Morin concluded.

“It’s easy to keep coaching because you always have kids that you want to see how they’re going to do,” Morin said. “So for a coach, it’s hard to stop and draw that line. So I had to stop and do it now.”

Morin  retired from teaching at the Auburn Middle School in 2009, but decided to keep coaching. There was a group of players on the Red Eddies he wanted to stick with through graduation.


“I was going to do it one year at a time and see what the feeling was,” Morin said. “You want to see when it gets to a point when it isn’t as enjoyable anymore or you don’t have the trust or respect you really need to be successful. Then it’s time to step down.”

Morin said he was 50-50 after the season ended last fall. EL went 4-9-1 and lost 4-3 to Lawrence in an Eastern Class A preliminary. He took some time to mull over his return. He had even begun discussions with assistant coach Ben Caswell about returning next year and maybe co-coaching what is expected to be a very young squad.

“Finally, I just thought a new face, a new voice, a young team, it’s a great opportunity for someone to start over with a new group of kids,” Morin said.

So Morin met with EL athletic director Dan Deshaies and informed him that he was stepping down. The job will be posted and interviews for a new coach will be forthcoming.

“He’s the ultimate professional and the ultimate coach,” Deshaies said. “He’s one of the top two or three coaches in the state of Maine. He started the program. He’s the epitome of the Sports Done Right philosophy. He’s never had an ejection. He’s what people look for in a coach. He’s been so good to work with.”

Morin said the decision was a relief. After contemplating whether or not to return, it felt right when he decided to step away.


“When you make that final decision, you don’t really feel bad,” Morin said. “It’s like letting the air out. You feel relaxed. It’s so easy to hang onto it. The hardest thing about coaching is that you get a year older and the kids stay the same age.”

When Morin took the job over in 1978, his tryouts were on a softball field with no soccer goals. The EL games were played at Central Maine Technical College. Triple-C teams like Cape Elizabeth, Gorham and Greely were the soccer powers. In this area, football ruled the sports scene.

“When soccer first started at Edward Little, not too many people wanted it,” Morin said. “We were called a few choice names when we got onto buses a few times.”

Morin, who also had stints coaching hockey at EL and baseball at Leavitt, created a soccer program rooted in playing hard and playing stingy. It was a style of play that would become the Red Eddies trademark and would frustrate offenses for decades.

“The kids learned one thing — if the other team doesn’t score, you can’t lose,” said Morin.

His EL team’s were regular playoff teams. They reached the regional final once, losing to Cape in overtime. No matter what kind of experience or talent Morin had returning each season, he was able to mold that group into a playoff team and even a contender.


“We had a bunch of wins, a bunch of losses and a lot of ties,” said Morin, mentioning a 2-2 tie against Brunswick in which his team was outshot 35-5. “There were some ties that were probably more beneficial, especially the way we played, than some of the wins.”

Morin credits the efforts of the kids that played that style and played hard. It was the work ethic as much as it was the defensive schemes that EL’s play was rooted in.

“My teams, when they played defense, they put it all on the line, even when they didn’t have the talent of some other teams,” Morin said. “You don’t get a lot of recognition for playing defense.”

Morin says it is hard to reflect back on 34 years and recall great teams, players and moments. That’s because one recollection is often followed by another and another.

“It was nice seeing a group of people come together and play as a team and play a sport that may not be the most popular socially,” Morin said. “We played in front of small crowds. The kids had to really love it. To see it grow from people not wanting it to the number of teams there are now is really incredible.”

The moments that meant the most didn’t come on the soccer field. They came years later when former players would return.

“To me, the greatest thing is when I bump into a former player and see them as an adult,” Morin said. “You talk to them and realize that they got it. They’ve figured it out. What you did with them, they appreciated it. You really know that you did something positive and constructive.”

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