Two of the key principals in Shead High’s drive to the 1999 Class D girls basketball state championship will return to the sidelines at the Eastport school this winter.
Sara Ricker, a 1,000-point scorer for the Tigerettes during that title run, is the new girls’ basketball varsity coach. Dean Preston, who coached Shead to the state championship, is now the boys varsity coach.
“We’re excited to have both of them coaching for us,” said Paul Theriault, Shead’s assistant principal.
After graduating from Shead, Ricker went on to play soccer, basketball and softball at the University of Maine at Machias.
Last winter she was Shead’s junior varsity coach under Joni Kinney, who left the varsity post after last season when she took a new teaching job in Machias. Shead went 10-9 last winter after advancing to the Eastern Maine Class D preliminary round.
“When Sara played, she was undersized but played much bigger because of her great work ethic,” said Theriault. “She’s going to bring that to the program, and it will rub off in a good way because of the type of person she is.
“She’s also a little bit of a legend here, and most of the kids she’s coaching now can remember when she played and the success the team had, even though they were in elementary school at the time.”
Ricker also is the new physical education teacher at Eastport Elementary School.
“The kids who played for her last year got along great with her,” said Theriault. “She was tough and worked them hard, but they liked it that way and they liked her.”
Preston is back at Shead after coaching the girls team at Washington Academy to a 12-7 record and an Eastern Maine Class C quarterfinal berth last year.
He came up through the coaching ranks in the Shead system under Bob Davis, the school’s current athletic administrator.
After guiding Shead to the state title, he went on to coach the women’s basketball team at the University of Maine at Machias until taking a leave of absence while serving with the national guard in Iraq. After returning home, he relinquished the UMM post to become the girls varsity basketball coach at Washington Academy.
“Dean has always looked for new challenges,” said Theriault. “He started here at the elementary level and coached JV and varsity and then wanted to coach a college team. He did that for a couple of years and eventually decided he wanted to get back to the high school level. He wanted the opportunity to coach a boys team, and now he has the chance.”
Preston replaces Chris Gardner, who coach the Tigers for the past two years. The Tigers went 3-15 during the 2005-06 season.
‘Guagus hires Fleming, Wolley
Change also is afoot at another Downeast Athletic Conference school, Narraguagus High in Harrington.
Corey Fleming is the school’s new athletic administrator, while Peter Wolley has taken over as the Knights’ boys varsity basketball coach.
Fleming, a New Brunswick native, replaces John DeRaps in the athletic administrator’s post after serving as fitness director at Harbor House in Southwest Harbor since 2003.
“I had been there three years, and I very much wanted to get back to working with kids and sports,” said Fleming, who added that DeRaps will remain as the school’s girls basketball coach.
Wolley, who served as head women’s basketball coach at the University of Maine at Machias last winter, replaces Kendrick Liburd in the boys varsity basketball post. Liburd has taken a job at Washington Academy in East Machias, Fleming said.
A Searsport native and UMM graduate, Wolley has an extensive coaching resume at the high school and college levels.
Before taking the UMM post last winter, he had left coaching for seven years to concentrate on business interests after a seven-year stint at Bucksport High School. That tenure was highlighted by four straight trips to the Eastern Maine Class B tournament from 1994 to 1997.
He also coached at the varsity level for two years at Machias, where he guided the Bulldogs to the 1988 Class D state championship.
Wolley also did assistant coaching stints at Swarthmore College, Ellsworth High and Rumford High.
The Narraguagus boys finished 3-15 last winter.