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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: New coaches bring experience to their jobs

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Positions have filled up among area sports teams as spring season begins.

By Gary Hawkins ghawkins@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

When Dave Kaplan resigned from his position as Hall-Dale High School varsity softball coach in 2011, he didn’t slam the door on future coaching endeavors. Instead, he closed it gently.

That door opened this spring when Kaplan agreed to become a co-coach with Mike Langlois for the Monmouth Academy softball team. The Monmouth position is one of half a dozen locally that were filled with new coaches this spring. Like Kaplan, most already have varsity coaching experience in their new sport or a previous one.

Other new varsity coaches include: Bob Sinclair, Hall-Dale baseball; Luke Wamboldt, Kents Hill baseball; Chad Kirk, Gardiner girls lacrosse; Mark Bailey, Erskine baseball; and Jess Merrill, Winthrop girls tennis.

Kaplan’s departure from Hall-Dale interrupted a 20-year coaching career that spanned from T-ball through various high schools.

“I missed it, honestly, and it was a good opportunity,” Kaplan said of his new job.

Langlois has experience as a youth softball coach and knows the game well, Kaplan said.

“It works great for me with my work situation,” he said. “We can cover for each other.”

Sinclair took over the Hall-Dale baseball team when Coach Tim Johnson was ill last season and led the Bullodgs to nine straight wins leading into the playoffs. Johnson, who has already served three separate stints as baseball coach at the Farmingdale school, decided not to come back this season.

Sinclair, who teaches science and has been a varsity assistant in baseball and soccer, was hired.

“I hope I’m in it for the long haul,” said Sinclair, who has a son playing on the team. “I actually know all the kids. I started with them back at the T-ball level.”

Wamboldt takes over for Jim Smucker, for whom he served as an assistant the past two seasons. The former Bates College infielder is excited about this year’s team, which had 30 candidates try out. He’s also busy fielding inquiries about the status of the school’s turf field, given the lingering winter conditions this spring.

“Everyone’s been calling us about getting on it,” Wamboldt said. “We’re supposed to play next Tuesday. We’re hoping to be able to get that one in.”

Kirk, who has been the girls varsity soccer coach at Gardiner the last four years, takes over lacrosse for Andy Haskell who he assisted last season. Merrill, who coaches Winthrop field hockey, takes over the girls tennis team from Kristen Cady.

Bailey assisted Erskine baseball coach Lars Jonassen last season. This spring Jonassen is coaching the junior varsity while Bailey takes over the varsity.

“It’s a good group of boys,” said Bailey, who had 35 try out for the team. “I started out with them in T-ball.”

Bailey, who coached baseball four years at the middle school level, is also the school’s varsity golf coach.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638 ghawkins@centralmaine.com Twitter: @GaryHawkinsKJ

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