Tyler DeMoore-Gonzalez is as comfortable in front of a blackboard as he is calling the shots from the sidelines of a lacrosse field.

Those two reasons are why he was named the new boys lacrosse coach at Gray-New Gloucester High School.

“Tyler was selected as our coach because he is first and foremost a teacher and coach,” Gray-New Gloucester athletic director Susan Robbins said. “He played lacrosse at St. Joseph’s College and has a solid lacrosse background. The students that participated in the interview really responded to him well in the interview and were very excited about him coaching the team.”

DeMoore-Gonzalez, 23, is a social studies and history teacher at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School who took to Maine during his four years at St. Joe’s, which came to an end last spring.

The first-year coach, who replaces Rich Tibbetts, said coming on board to oversee the 26ers program — Gray-New Gloucester has added neighboring Poland to form a cooperative team — was an easy sell.

“I think the easy thing to say is I am new to Maine, as far as permanent residency,” DeMoore-Gonzalez said. “I have already seen G-NG lacrosse. I went to St. Joe’s. G-NG was always using St. Joe’s as a field. I ended up becoming great friends with some kids from G-NG — and I think the community and these families … they are what really drove me in.

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“I love all family involvement at Gray-New Gloucester and Poland. The day I was hired, I already had parents emailing me with support, and that was huge.”

DeMoore-Gonzalez and Robbins are excited about the co-op between Gray-New Gloucester and Poland, which will still compete in Class C this season.

“G-NG and Poland have had a cooperative team agreement with our girls program since we began varsity competition two years ago,” Robbins said. “We also co-op with Poland in boys ice hockey. The two schools are in the same conference (Western Maine Conference), geographically close and philosophically aligned.

“I am a strong believer in the opportunities that a cooperative team creates for schools. It would take much longer to add a program and a larger financial burden for schools to bear if they tried on their own. The cooperative team agreements we currently have serve our students well.”

The 26ers nickname comes from the two schools being on or near state Route 26.

‘INSTANT CREDIBILITY’

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Robbins said DeMoore-Gonzalez, who is from Levittown, New York, met all the prerequisites for the job.

“Tyler is a good fit because we are in the early phases of our lacrosse program,” Robbins said. “He is very passionate about the game and building a program here with G-NG and Poland. I believe as a younger coach who played in college, he has instant credibility with the boys on the team.“

DeMoore-Gonzalez said his first goal is to make lacrosse fun and bring back some normalcy to the program, which he said is filled with enthusiastic athletes who have faced the ongoing battle with COVID-19.

“I, myself, lost two years of lacrosse … to COVID-19,” he said. “So I think that is pretty unique, as I wasn’t a teacher or I wasn’t a coach at that time. I was a student, but I understand what the kids have gone through the last two years. I want the kids to feel like they are a 100 percent involved.

“As far as this year goes, it is returning back to normal. It is really laying the foundation, not for G-NG lacrosse, not for Poland lacrosse, but for 26ers lacrosse. We defined this year as a team (with) passion. We are positive, committed and growing a tradition.”

The Gray-New Gloucester program started varsity competition in 2018 after two years of playing a junior varsity schedule. The Patriots won a playoff game in each of their three varsity seasons (2018, 2019 and 2021).

DeMoore-Gonzalez views the two schools playing together as a good opportunity for the athletes as well as a way to cultivate the growth of lacrosse in Maine.

“It seems pretty seamless so far,” he said. “You wouldn’t know looking at the team who is from G-NG and who is from Poland. Some of these kids have never met each other and they are already bonding the past two days as if they went to the same school, and I think that’s super unique and it is great.”


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