Mt. Blue football coach Nate Quirion rounds up his players during a preseason practice in August 2018. Sun Journal file photo by Tony Blasi

After putting his heart and soul into the Mt. Blue High School football program for the past two years, Nate Quirion is stepping down for another coaching opportunity. 

“This was a family decision,” Quirion said in an email. “This was an incredibly hard decision, but it was a decision that I feel is best for my family.  

“I’m proud of the progress we made at Mt. Blue. I know we were on the path toward great things. I know (athletic director) Mr. (Chad) Brackett will hire a great coach and that coach will put together a great staff. They will take Mt. Blue to the next level.

“I was very proud to be the head coach of Mt. Blue football. I’m proud of how hard the kids worked as well as the coaches. I’m very thankful to Mr. Brackett and Mt. Blue for the opportunity they gave me.”

He would not comment on his next job because the hiring process hasn’t been finalized for his new position.

Quirion was an assistant football coach at Husson University before he replaced longtime coach Jim Aylward for the 2017 season.

“Absolutely not looking for a job,” Quirion told the Lewiston Sun Journal in 2017. “I was very happy at Husson. I was very close with the coaching staff, the players.

“It was a great situation for me, but you really start looking around and my roots are deep in the area and I kind of always had my eye on Mt. Blue — when and if it would open — I thought that would be one of the few that I really looked to pursue just because of their football tradition and the reputation of hard-working kids at Mt. Blue. Mt. Blue just seems like a special place.”

Quirion took over the struggling program and steered the Cougars to a postseason appearance after going 1-7 in the 2017 season in Class B North. In the playoffs, Lawrence scored three touchdowns in the second half for a 20-13 win over Mt. Blue in the Pine Tree Conference Class B quarterfinals.

“I was a little surprised but it’s kind of the way things are now,” Brackett said. “It is not as common to have the longevity of a (Ray) Caldwell, (Craig) Sickels, (Jim) Bessey or (Gary) Parlin anymore. It’s just the way it is.”

But Brackett praised Quirion’s accomplishments and the work he put into the Mt. Blue program.

“Nate guided the team to the playoffs this year and was voted the recipient of the Pete Cooper Coach of the Year Award by his peers in the Pine Tree Conference. But I think his biggest accomplishment was instilling the importance of offseason preparation — staying in shape mentally and physically between November and August,” Brackett said.

Brackett also cited Quirion’s efforts to instill confidence in the Cougars.

“The pride (he established) in his players and their place in the long history of success Mt. Blue Football has had over the last 50 years,” Brackett said.  “His time here was shorter than we would have liked it to be, but he was very proud to be the coach at Mt. Blue.

“It’s always tough to lose a quality coach in any sport, but our kids are very resilient. This is a very strong group of players. They are moving on. I know they will be ready next fall.”

 

Mt. Blue coach Nate Quirion is surrounded by cheering intramural lifters as Caleb Haines does his best to get another rep during intramural lifting at Mt. Blue’s weight room last spring. (Sun Journal file photo by Tony Blasi)

filed under: