Terry Cummings fondly recalls his playing days at the University of Maine-Presque Isle.
As the head men’s basketball coach of the Owls, he hopes to help restore the program to its former level of success.
UMPI athletic director Bill Casavant confirmed that Cummings has been hired to coach the men’s basketball and women’s volleyballs teams.
The 39-year-old Cummings, who has spent the last several years at Greater Houlton Christian Academy, also has accepted a full-time position working in UMPI’s Gentile Hall, where he will set up wellness programs for the university’s faculty and staff.
“Being an UMPI grad, I always had a strong connection up there,” said Cummings, who replaces Mike Carlos, the Owls’ coach the last four seasons.
“It seems like a real good time to rebuild,” Cummings said. “We’re looking to move UMPI basketball back in the right direction. I’m extremely excited about it.”
It has been 17 years since Cummings capped off a stellar career at UMPI, where he was an All-NAIA District 5 pick and scored more than 2,000 career points. He was a BDN All-Maine, third-team choice at Houlton High School in 1987.
“He brings that background as a college player for us and he’s got his experience on the high school level,” Casavant said. “He’s done very well with that. And still has name recognition, which I think is important.”
Cummings had thought about the UMPI job, but was waiting for the timing to be right. Owls women’s basketball coach and sports information director Tracy Guerrette initially contacted Cummings and encouraged him to apply.
After meeting with new AD Casavant and UMPI President Don Zillman, Cummings felt comfortable in pursuing the opportunity.
“He wants to get the good Aroostook County kids, the good Eastern Maine kids and build the program,” Casavant said.
Cummings believes in building around not only good basketball players, but well-rounded students who are committed to doing well.
“That’s going to be my No. 1 goal, to make sure they’re good students as well as good athletes,” he said. “We’re going to try and get kids that are going to come and graduate, not just be there for a year or two.”
The toughest part for Cummings is leaving the tight-knit community at Greater Houlton Christian Academy.
He has been the GHCA athletic director since 2003 and coached the Eagles’ boys basketball team from 2002-2008. Cummings also did double duty the past two winters, coaching the girls basketball squad. He also was the volleyball coach.
Cummings’ girls teams racked up a 34-7 record, reaching the Eastern Maine Class D semifinals in 2007 and the quarterfinals last season. The GHCA boys went 38-70 in six seasons under his direction, including four postseason appearances.
“That was the hardest part for me [of deciding to leave],” Cummings said. “I had a great group of kids and great assistant coaches and people that I’ve worked with.”
At UMPI, Cummings envisions putting together a team that thrives on pressure defense and playing an uptempo style. He hopes to get the greater Presque Isle community to rally behind the Owls.
“I think it will be a great bunch of guys to watch and coach. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
Anna Maria football joins NAC
The North Atlantic Conference has announced Anna Maria College of Paxton, Mass., is starting a football program and will join the league as an associate member in football beginning in 2009.
The addition of Anna Maria should help solidify a conference that includes Husson College of Bangor.
The AMcats will be eligible for awards and compete against NAC teams in 2009, but won’t play a full conference schedule until 2010.
Husson and Castleton State are the only full NAC members in the football league, which also will include associate members Becker College, Gallaudet University, SUNY Maritime College, Mount Ida, Norwich and Anna Maria.
In spite of the development of the NAC football conference, it will not be eligible for an NCAA Division III automatic postseason berth because it does not meet the requirement of having four core members.
UM team on national honor roll
The University of Maine women’s basketball team earned a No. 16 national ranking in the Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll, which was released late Monday night. The Black Bears were the only school from America East to make the national honor roll, as the team compiled a grade point average of 3.345 this past academic year.
Last week 11 members of the squad were named to the 2008 America East Winter/Spring Academic Honor Roll for earning grade point averages of 3.0 or better. The list of 11 included Kristin Baker, Brittany Boser, Brittany Bowen, Katia Bratishko, Magdala Johnson, Colleen Kilmurray, Christina Mosher, Emily Rousseau, Amanda Tewksbury, Sandra Vaitkute and Kris Younan. Six of the 11 were named to the America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll for earning GPAs of 3.5 or higher, including Baker, Boser, Bowen, Kilmurray, Rousseau and Tewksbury.
“I would like to say congratulations to each and every one of these teams for producing some impressive cumulative grade point averages,” said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. “These numbers would be notable for one student-athlete alone, but for an entire team to compile overall GPAs such as this is truly remarkable. I tip my hat to these programs and wish continued success both on and off the court.”