For years while he was coaching girls’ basketball at either Greely High or Scarborough, Jim Seavey would go to Gary Fifield, the women’s coach at the University of Southern Maine, for advice. Simple basketball stuff, like how to attack a certain defense or how to defend a certain offense.

Starting very soon, Fifield is going to be soliciting advice from Seavey, who has left his position as head coach at Scarborough to join Fifield’s staff as an assistant coach.

The two have known each other for over 20 years and Fifield said you cannot discount Seavey’s experience.

“I think he brings someone to the bench that I can bounce things off,” said Fifield, entering his 23rd season with the Huskies. “He’s been a head coach and that’s always important, to have someone on the bench who’s been there, who’s had to call the timeout, who’s had to call the plays, who’s had to make the adjustments.”

This wasn’t an easy decision for the 45-year-old Seavey. He has been coaching at the high school level for over two decades, winning a state championship in Class B with Greely (2004) and in Class A with Scarborough (2010). He went 66-32 in five years at Scarborough. He also won a Class B softball state championship with Greely in 2002.

But the lure of coaching at the college level tugged at him and he couldn’t pass up this chance.

“I’m excited, but a little torn at the same time,” said Seavey, noting that Scarborough has a strong returning cast this winter. “I’m leaving some good kids.

“I’ve had success at the high school level. It’s tough to go away from your comfort zone. And for me, my comfort zone has been coaching at the high school level.

“But I’m just going down the road. It’s not like I’m going 1,000 miles away.”

And that was important to Seavey, who is the director of basketball operations at Southern Maine Sports Zone in Saco. His son Quincy is 6 and his daughter Sydney is 4. Both are becoming active in athletics and Seavey wants to be there for them.

One of the selling points of the USM position was that he could be home at a reasonable hour every night after practice and that Quincy could go to practices and road games with Seavey.

Beyond that, Seavey sees this as an opportunity that could lead to bigger things.

“This is kind of a natural progression,” he said. “Who knows? Possibly down the road, it could lead to becoming a head coach of a Division III program. Gary has done a very good job of placing his assistants or former players.”

Seavey will have to make an adjustment, of course, and not just to another level of competition.

“How I deal with not having my own team or running my own program — I’ve had my own program for 18 years — is something I had to consider,” said Seavey. “But Gary did a good job convincing me that he would give me some responsibilities.”

Seavey will probably be working with the Huskies’ post players in practice. In games, he’ll be another set of eyes for Fifield.

“This is a change for Jim,” said Fifield. “As an assistant, you certainly don’t have the pressure of making that final call. But you’re still involved in the game you love teaching and you’re still working with people, still involved in their lives.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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