University of Maine at Farmington’s Alex Bessey, right, defends Bates’ Davina Kabantu as she drives to the basket during the first quarter of a Nov. 16, 2021, game in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Alex Bessey’s playing career ended a little over a year ago, but she knew coaching was in her future.

The former Spruce Mountain, Central Maine Community College, and University of Maine at Farmington basketball standout got her feet wet this past season by being an assistant coach with the Spruce Mountain girls basketball team.

After one season with the Phoenix, Bessey is taking the reins of her own program, as the head coach of the Mt. Blue girls basketball team.

“Obviously, this early in my coaching career, I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to be a head coach,” Bessey said. “But I am very excited for the opportunity. I would never have applied if I didn’t think I could positively impact this program.”

Bessey takes over for Zac Conlogue, who spent four seasons coaching the Cougars. Mt. Blue went 3-15 in 2022-23 and missed the Class A North playoffs.

Mt. Blue athletic director Cynthia Pratt said she wasn’t necessarily looking for a young coach, but Bessey’s passion shined through the interview process.

Advertisement

“She will bring a lot of youthfulness and energy,” Pratt said of Bessey, who she coached in field hockey at UMaine-Farmington. “I think she’s passionate about basketball. I think it will be great for our girls basketball program.”

Bessey is a 2017 graduate of Spruce Mountain, where she played field hockey, basketball, and softball. Her basketball career included recording 1,000 points, being named a Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star, being selected a two-time KVAC all-conference first-team member, and was on the Sun Journal’s All-Region first team.

Spruce Mountain’s Alex Bessey was all smiles during a Feb. 2017 game in Jay against Mt. Blue. Sun Journal file photo

In college, she started at Central Maine Community College in 2017-18 and played on the Mustangs’ 2018-19 USCAA Division II national title team, where she had 12 points in the fourth quarter in an 85-78 victory against Villa Maria College in the national championship game.

CMCC named Bessey to its 2010s all-decade team.

After two years at CMCC, Bessey transferred to UMF and played from 2019-21 with the Beavers, playing on the women’s basketball and field hockey teams. She averaged 12 points per game in three years on the basketball team.

Bessey looks forward to taking what she learned from her coaches at Spruce Mountain, CMCC and UMF and bring it to Mt. Blue.

Advertisement

Spruce Mountain grad Alex Bessey played for the University of Maine at Farmington for three seasons after spending two seasons at Central Maine Community College. Jeff Lamb Photo

“I have played a lot of basketball, I have had a lot of different coaches, a lot of different teammates, and have learned from all of them,” Bessey said. “There’s a lot of different stuff I am definitely going to use — I just wrote out my first practice plan the other day. Some of it was from UMF, some of it was from CM, and some of it was from Spruce.”

Bessey added that she is excited to cultivate her own culture at Mt. Blue.

“In the past, Mt. Blue’s program has been very solid,” Bessey added. “…I think it’s in the rebuilding process, and I am excited to be a part of that and work with the high schoolers and eventually, in the years to come, the youth programs — just to build up the program where it used to be.”

Pratt said Bessey has people she can bounce things off.

“She has a good support system around her,” Pratt said. “She comes from a basketball-coaching family. She has incredible resources if she needs help. I think that’s going to help.”

Bessey’s dad is Chris Bessey, who coached at Jay High School and Spruce Mountain and is the current UMF baseball coach. Alex’s uncle is Scott Bessey, the current Spruce Mountain boys basketball coach.

Advertisement

Pratt said the Mt. Blue community is excited about Bessey’s hire.

“They are very excited, and they think it’s a great opportunity to build that program, breathe a little bit of fresh air in the program, and see where she can take it,” Pratt said.

Bessey said going through the hiring process will help her going forward this summer. After graduating from UMF in December with a degree in early childhood education, she’s now looking for a teaching job.

“I think it was good practice to have the interview experience because that was my first real interview,” Bessey said. “I hope it will help me, just knowing what to expect.”


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.