When Maureen Barron learned that Deb Smith had resigned Sept. 9 as Maine’s softball coach, she went to Athletic Director Steve Abbott and made him an offer. 

“I felt for the team, not having anyone in place, and it’s a tough time to be without a softball coach in the fall,” Barron said. “Steve Abbott asked me if I was interested. I offered and I said, ‘Is there anything I can do? Do you want me to put them through workouts, or work with the pitchers?’ “

When Barron, the wife of Black Bears women’s basketball coach Richard Barron, came to Orono, she wanted to join the softball program on a part-time or volunteer basis. On Sept. 21, Abbott announced that Barron, a former pitcher and coach at Princeton, had been named Maine’s interim softball coach.

Maureen (Davies) Barron pitched for the Tigers from 1993-97 and helped the program to three NCAA tournament berths and two appearances in the Women’s College World Series. She coached for seven seasons at Princeton, from 2000-07, won four Ivy League titles, led the Tigers to four NCAA tournament berths and had a record of 196-149-1. 

Barron left Princeton after the 2007 season when her husband was offered a coaching job with the Baylor women’s basketball program. 

“It was a great opportunity for him, professionally, and for me to stay home as the kids (twin daughters Lane and Rae, 7, and son Billy, 5) got older,” Barron said. “It got more and more hectic, and I wanted to take them to their T-ball games and ballet classes.

“Softball will always be a part of my life. It was hard to step back from coaching, but once I got used to it, being a stay-at-home mom is harder!” Barron said, laughing.

Barron is coaching the Black Bears during their fall season, and with women’s basketball set to start practices Sunday and the softball team playing in a round-robin tournament today (against Thomas, UMass-Lowell and Husson), the Barrons are sitting down each week to coordinate baby sitters and car arrangements and practice schedules. 

“It’s a wonderful situation for our kids,” Barron said. “They have all these role models. And it’s fun for the women on the team. We are a part of their family and they’re a part of ours.”

Abbott said Maine will launch a nationwide search for a new softball coach, and Barron said that as of right now she does not plan to apply for the opening. 

“But,” she said, “I hope that I can get involved in some way.”

THE SOCCER, field hockey and football teams are dedicating specific games as part of the Maine athletic department’s fundraising efforts for the American Cancer Society’s New England Division. The women’s soccer team will face UMBC at noon Oct. 9, the field hockey team will face Holy Cross at noon Oct. 10, and the football team will host Rhode Island at 1 p.m. Oct. 15, which is Maine’s homecoming weekend.

Contributions can be made at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/umaineathletics/timetofightback.

THE WOMEN’S basketball team will open its first practice to the public at 6 p.m. today at “The Pit” in Memorial Gym in Orono.

All attending will have the opportunity to speak with first-year women’s coach Richard Barron and his staff, and to meet with this year’s team.

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: rlenzi