Gray-New Gloucester High has hired Jon DiBiase, 28, to be its varsity baseball coach.

Jon DiBiase

DiBiase, the son of 2020 Maine Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Tony DiBiase, has been the junior varsity coach at South Portland the last three years. He has also been an assistant football and basketball coach at multiple high schools since graduating from Husson University. Currently, he is an assistant for Deering football and the first-team boys’ basketball coach at South Portland.

“After being with South Portland (baseball) for almost four years, it was time for me to venture off and try to build something of my own,” DiBiase said.

“I know a couple of coaches in the Gray-New Gloucester (athletic) program and they said it was a great group of kids, and I’m just looking to grow the program into two healthy teams,” DiBiase said.

The 2020 baseball season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. DiBiase replaces Jim Beers, who was hired before the 2020 season but never got to coach a game. Beers had replaced Brad Smith, a long-time coach and administrator in Oklahoma and Maine who won more than 400 games in his career. Smith retired in October 2019 after eight seasons at Gray-New Gloucester.

“I kind of like going in with a fresh slate, especially with no baseball last year, and to try to get that tough, hard-working philosophy across,” DiBiase said.

DiBiase said he sought the counsel of his father, who was hired as the baseball coach at Cheverus prior to the 2020 season, before taking the job. Jon DiBiase played baseball for his father at South Portland. The past two winters, Tony DiBiase was Jon’s assistant on the first-team basketball squad at South Portland.

“I’m really happy for Jon. He’s put the time and effort in,” said Tony DiBiase, who is working with the Cheverus’ boys’ basketball team this winter. “He coaches three sports and I think he’s really ready for this, to have his own program, to deal with booster clubs and parents and everything.”

South Portland baseball coach Mike Owens agreed. Owens cited DiBiase’s background as a three-sport athlete at South Portland, a baseball player (one season) and football player (three seasons) at Husson, and his coaching experience and family connections. “His knowledge of the game isn’t an issue,” Owens said. “And I think his relatability with the players will be his biggest strength.”

DiBiase is employed as a high school completion specialist by the nonprofit Jobs for Maine Graduates, working out of South Portland High, with “kids that are on the cusp of dropping out and seeing them through the finish line,” he said.

“He’s very good with the kids. … They all kind of flock to him,” Owens said. “He’s done it in multiple sports and I’ve never heard a kid say anything bad about him, and he does it in a school setting, too.”

Gray-New Gloucester Athletic Director Susan Robbins is pleased to get a young and energetic coach who is very knowledgable about baseball.

“Our student-athletes were impressed with his coaching philosophy and desire to not only win but grow the program,” she said.


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