Coach Travis Magnusson speaks with a Mt. Blue player as he watches the Cougars take on the Lewiston Blue Devils in Farmington in January.

When he was hired last season as the boys basketball coach at Mt. Blue High School, Travis Magnusson made one caveat clear.

“I think it was days after I got it,” Magnusson said, “I even told (Chad) Brackett, the AD, (that) it was probably a ways down the road, but the only job that I’d be interested in is Maranacook.”

Travis Magnusson, pictured here with his wife Karen, has been named the new boys basketball coach at Maranacook. Karen is the girls coach at the school Kennebec Journal file photo by Andy Molloy

That opportunity came sooner than expected. Magnusson was hired this weekend as the new varsity boys basketball coach at Maranacook, replacing Rob Schmidt, who resigned in April after 18 seasons.

Magnusson leaves after the one season at Mt. Blue, during which he led the Cougars from a 1-17 record to an 11-8 mark and the third seed in the Class A North tournament field. He knows the expectations will be high at Maranacook, which went 17-3 and reached the Class B South semifinals.

“Big shoes to fill,” Magnusson said. “(Schmidt’s) one of the better coaches in basketball around the state, and he’s been probably the best coach Maranacook’s ever had.”

It’s a move, though, that made all too much sense. Magnusson lives in Readfield with his wife, Karen, who is the Maranacook girls varsity coach, and two children, and he’s a physical education teacher and the girls varsity soccer coach at the school.

“I’m really excited to take over. It’s a good fit for me,” he said. “There are a lot of connections at Maranacook already. … It makes a lot of sense for us.”

Magnusson, a former player at UMaine Farmington, has a proven track record over a dozen years spent coaching varsity teams in Maine. He coached at Livermore Falls for four seasons before spending seven at Dirigo, where he won a Class C state championship in 2012 and compiled a 118-29 record. He then headed to Mt. Blue, where he turned the Cougars overnight into a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Class A contender.

He heard of the opening at Maranacook from Schmidt, however, and interviewed for the position last week. He got the job this past weekend, and said he’s looking forward to helping the team continue its winning ways.

“(Schmidt) did a great job with the program, and it’s in a great position. I thought I could help continue that,” Magnusson said. “On the court, my style is we like to run, we like to push the ball, and get everybody the shots they’re comfortable with. That all starts with playing great defense and just doing the little things. … Hopefully, people see next year great effort and a team that has a lot of energy for each other.”

Magnusson, though, said it wasn’t an easy decision to leave.

“I figured that I would be at Mt. Blue a lot longer, and it made it a tough decision because we had a great year last year,” he said. “The fans were really good, the school was really supportive and I really enjoyed the kids.”

He added that the program is in a good place for the next coach.

“I think that the position is a really good one, I think it’s one of the better jobs in the state right now,” he said. “There are a lot of good young kids coming up, there’s a really good eighth-grade class coming in. … I really hope it gets some good candidates, because I think it could be a really, really good job.”