Mt. Blue head coach Claire Polfus congratulates Meg Charles after she finished third for her relay team at the Telstar Relays in 2016. Brewster Burns photo

Dr. Troy Norton, second from left, joins Crystal Hulit Cormier, Dawn Anne Higgins-Currie, Stacy Pinkham Rice, Dave Long and Dan LeGage after they were all inducted into the University of Maine at Farmington Hall of Fame in 2012. University of Maine at Farmington photo

Like other athletic directors across Maine, Mt. Blue’s Chad Brackett is riding the coaching merry-go-round in search of new mentors — and his hunt has proved fruitful. He hired a new boys basketball coach — Troy Norton.

Norton, a local optometrist, is also a 1996 University of Maine at Farmington graduate and a UMF hall of famer who scored 1,000 points for the Beavers’ men’s basketball team. He replaces Travis Magnusson, who left after one year to coach at Maranacook Community High School. He turned around the Cougars program and led them to the Class A North semifinals.

According to UMF’s website: “Norton finished his career ranked sixth among UMaine-Farmington’s all-time leaders with 1,295 points, and third among the program’s single season scoring leaders with 476 points in the 1995-96 campaign.”

Brackett said Norton has never coached at the high-school level.

“He is in the UMF Hall of Fame as a player and he was a standout basketball player at Mt. Blue High School in the early ’90s,” Brackett said. “He has played for (coaches) Jim Bessey and Dick Meader and he has an incredible basketball IQ, but I think most of all, he understands the athletic pulse of this community as well as anybody.

“I think of the candidates that were available he was the right fit for us now. He knows what Mt. Blue basketball was and he saw where it was going with coach Magnusson and he wants to keep it realistically moving in the right direction.”

More help wanted

Brackett is also looking for a Nordic ski coach after Claire Polfus, who experienced enormous success at Mt. Blue, resigned after the 2018-2019 season.

“I am trying to find a more creative way to advertise it because we don’t really have any bites on it, and I am trying to think of more places to get more interest in (the position),” Brackett said. “If anybody knows about Nordic skiing, this has really got to be a really high-choice job for coaches considering what our success is, our resources in having Titcomb Mountain in the community, but the ski community is pretty small in general. It is not like every high school has a ski team.”

Brackett also understands there will be candidates who will want a teaching job attached to the coaching position to supplement their income. He added that parents have come forward to help with advertising the position.

Longtime cheering coach Holly Harrington has stepped down and will be replaced Danielle Tannenbaum.

“She has head-coaching experience at Lisbon High School and at Monmouth Academy,” Brackett said. “I  think she will bring new energy and ideas and will maintain a high-level of competition and sportsmanship that the team has come to be known for.”

Meanwhile, at Spruce Mountain

Spruce Mountain athletic director Marc Keller is also on the lookout for three coaches for positions left vacant when Bill Acritelli stepped down this past season.

Acritelli, who coached the boys soccer, tennis and the Alpine ski teams, has called it a day.

But Keller has found a field hockey coach after longtime coach Jane DiPompo resigned. Katie Trask, who was DiPompo’s assistant, has moved into the the head coaching spot.

“Katie is going to be a great fit for the girls,” Keller said. “She knows the girls and she worked with Jane last year.”


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