Winthrop boys basketball coach Todd McArthur, center, and assistant coach John Baehr, right, react after a call during the 2019 Class C state championship game at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Baehr has been hired as the school’s new girls basketball coach. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

John Baehr has a lot of experience as a Winthrop High School coach.

He coaches the boys soccer team, and he’s been an assistant to boys basketball coach Todd MacArthur for the past decade.

Baehr was alongside MacArthur during the Ramblers’ recent Class C state championship runs in 2019 and 2020.

Next winter, the 41-year-old Baehr will be on the girls basketball team’s bench as its new head coach.

“I’m really excited for the season. We have a good young group, we have good leadership,” Baehr said. “It was great to have a practice Tuesday. I watched a lot of games on streaming last year, but until you really get into coaching and thinking coaching, watching and enjoying a basketball is different than being a coach.”

Baehr replaces Jess Merrill and Kelsey Ouellette, who were co-coaches last season after coach Joe Burnham stepped down after seven seasons in March 2020.

Baehr said he and MacArthur have had conversations about leaving for a head coaching job for a few years.

“I told him he couldn’t get rid of me that quick,” Baehr said. “I always told Todd, ‘It has to be the right time, and it has to be the right place.’ This year, it really just opened up. Last year wasn’t the right time to apply for that. When it opened again this year, it was the right time and right place.”

Baehr said he and MacArthur were “two peas in a pod” in regards to coaching strategy, and he said he’s bringing some of the trademarks of the Winthrop boys team to the girls.

“We’re going to play 84 feet, we’re going to transition as best we can,” he said. “Coming down to the Civic Center in big games, it’s about that half-court, getting a stop in the half-court set. It’s also about scoring and being disciplined and being smart and taking good shots, but when it comes down to it, to get a stop when you need it, the energy level is just so much more (important) in my eyes than just scoring a big basket.”

In addition to the Winthrop boys’ style of play, Baehr said he’s also hoping to bring along the Winthrop boys’ winning culture.

“It’s not a rebuild that I’m used to,” he said. “It’s competing for championships year-in and year-out that we’ve done at the boys program. I want to bring that to the girls program.”

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