Hodgdon girls basketball coach Phil Faulkner claims he had nothing to do with Monday night’s 52-40 victory over Washburn. But some of his coaching techniques must have rubbed off over the years, because Monday’s win was the 400th of Faulkner’s 28-year career.
“I didn’t get [the win],” Faulkner said. “The girls got it for me.”
The coach tried to keep his impending milestone a secret so his team could concentrate on playing basketball. But three weeks ago, WAGM-TV of Presque Isle broadcast his career record.
Someone must have seen the broadcast, Faulkner said, because the team was waiting with a cake decorated with “400 Wins” and ice cream for after Monday night’s game. Faulkner had been trying to keep the news quiet for so long that he nearly forgot, he said.
“At the end of the game [athletic director Clark Rafford] got up and asked everyone to stay in their seats and then he made the announcement,” Faulkner said. “Then it dawned on me what he was doing.”
Faulkner began his career in 1970 at Island Falls High School, where he coached the boys for six years. He moved to Katahdin in 1976 and was there until 1995, when he retired. He started coaching at Hodgdon this season.
Only three other active Maine high school basketball coaches have more wins. Longtime Presque Isle and current Katahdin girls coach Dick Barstow has 500 and Jonesport-Beals boys coach Ordie Alley has 400. John Bapst boys coach Bob Cimbollek got his 400th in December.
Among retired coaches, George Wentworth, the former Stearns of Millinocket coach, tallied 478 wins in his 31-year career and Frederick “Red” Barry won 281 games in 22 years at Bangor.
The late Bernard “Bunny” Parady got 360 wins at Mount Desert Island High School.
Ron Marks, who coached against Faulkner while Marks was the boys coach at Sherman Station High School and Faulkner was at Island Falls, said Faulkner has always put a lot of time and effort into his coaching.
“He’s a good coach,” said Marks, who is a 300-game winner. “We had some good battles there.”
Although the glow from the cake and ice cream is still there, Faulkner said he is already looking at his next challenge – Hodgdon’s game at rival Houlton.
“It was all very nice,” he said. “But now it’s time to think about the next game. We have a nice rivalry with Houlton so it doesn’t take much to get the girls excited.”