AUBURN — The Central Maine Community College golf program has been dormant for the past 10 years, but that will change in 2022. 

Shaun McKinnon has been hired to coach the Central Maine Community College golf program, which is returning after 10 years of dormancy. Submitted photo

To jumpstart the program from scratch, CMCC athletic director Dave Gonyea needed a passionate and driven coach.

He found Shaun McKinnon, a social studies teacher and the girls lacrosse coach at Edward Little High School. 

“He looks the part, he walks the part, he talks the part, he acts the part,” Gonyea said. “I just think he’s a great fit for the program.” 

Perhaps most importantly, Shaun McKinnon has a passion for golf. 

McKinnon, who is from Connecticut, started playing golf during his sophomore year of high school. He then attended the University of Southern Maine, where he was a four-year golfer, and was a team captain his senior year.


McKinnon still plays every weekend at Martindale Country Club in Auburn, and he runs camps for kids in the summer. 

“Golf is my sport. Golf is my passion,” McKinnon said. “I watch golf, I play golf, I coach golf. I really, really enjoy it.”


McKinnon said that interest in college golf is booming.

“Golf has grown so much since the COVID pandemic, it seems like everyone’s playing,” McKinnon said.

Further driving interest in CMCC golf is a government program approved earlier this year that allows high school graduates who live in Maine to attend one of the state’s seven community colleges for free.


“The enrollment in community college in Maine has just exploded,” McKinnon said. “You can go to community college in Maine for free.”

“I’m just trying to start a pipeline of different high schools in the area that might not want to go to a four-year university,” McKinnon added. “And now, with community college being free in the state of Maine, it’s really not a hard sell.”

Also, there shouldn’t be a shortage of good golfers to choose from.

“The golf scene is excellent in the state of Maine. There’s a lot of very good players,” McKinnon said. “It’s very competitive, there’s a lot of very good golfers in Maine that no one really knows about because we can’t play for four months of the year.” 

However, McKinnon and Gonyea say that recruiting is about more than simply finding skilled golfers.

“I’m also looking for kids who are going to get it done in the classroom as well, which is just as important,” McKinnon said. “It’s important that we keep bringing kids back to the team. One-and-done kids, that’s not what we want.” 


“(The golf program) gives us one more reason why kids should be coming to college,” Gonyea added. “I’d like to attract golfers that want to play at a higher level (after CMCC).”


McKinnon has already been proactive in his recruiting efforts. 

“I’ve reached out to every player in the state tournament that broke 85 last year. I reached out to all of them and their ADs and said, ‘Hey, I’m Shaun McKinnon, CMCC golf coach, and I’d love to talk to so and so,’” McKinnon said. 

McKinnon, who graduated from USM in 2018, has tapped into the high-school generation. 

“I created a coaching Instagram account that players can follow me on … so that’s a really good new-school way to interact with kids,” McKinnon said. 


He added: “Instagram has been a very good way to connect with kids, because they don’t check their emails, but they check their Instagrams.”

McKinnon is young for a coach, but Gonyea said that is an advantage.

“He’s a different age. He’s a younger guy, just out of school. And, that generation is different than my generation and the one behind me,” Gonyea said. “I think social media is really important to them, they use that a lot, and, quite frankly, I think it’s going to attract a lot of interest for the program.”

So far, there has been a lot of interest in the CMCC golf program. 

“I’ve talked to about 10 players,” McKinnon said. “I have four or five of them that are definitely interested. I’m hoping as the word keeps getting out, we’re going to keep gaining interest. Obviously, it’s going to be a bit difficult being the first season back.”

McKinnon isn’t solely seeking players for what their current skill levels are.

“I’m looking for golfers that are committed to improving their game,” McKinnon said. “Even if they’re not strong golfers yet, we will make them strong golfers.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: