ORONO — Jackson Coutts beamed in the back of the room Wednesday while his mom, Lynn Coutts, was being announced as the new University of Maine softball coach.
The job will take Coutts away from her Scarborough home often but Jackson, 13, didn’t seem to mind.
“My dad is a good cook,” Jackson said.
Mike Coutts laughed and had no complaints about his wife’s new challenging commute. In fact it was Mike Coutts, currently the Scarborough High baseball coach, who encouraged his wife.
“He has really pushed me toward my goals,” Lynn said.
One of those goals was to return to UMaine, her alma mater and previous employer.
Lynn Coutts, 46, replaced Deb Smith, who resigned two months ago after her second stint as coach. Smith coached Maine from 1999 to 2004, then 2009-11.
Coutts had applied for the Maine job before that 2009 season. This time, second-year athletic director Steve Abbott chose Coutts.
“Lynn is a true Black Bear,” Abbott said. “She’s a fantastic coach, incredibly organized and incredibly motivated.”
Coutts, from Shawville, Quebec, was a standout pitcher for the Black Bears from 1983-87. She was named a Northeast All-American her senior year.
Coutts has been a coach and instructor since. She also worked in the Maine athletic office, and as an assistant softball coach at Maine from 1990-94.
Since 1997, Lynn and her husband, a former Maine baseball player and assistant coach, have run the Frozen Ropes Training Center, first in Franklin, Mass., and in Portland.
Lynn Coutts has coached travel teams and been an instructor for several local softball players.
“I’m completely and totally thrilled for her,” said Jannelle Bouchard, a Kennebunk High catcher who worked with Coutts.
Bouchard officially accepted a softball scholarship to Valparaiso on Wednesday.
“She’s living her dream like she’s helped so many of us fulfill our dreams.”
On Wednesday, Coutts looked extremely comfortable during the press conference and after.
“It’s like coming back home,” Coutts said. She plans to get to work immediately.
“I’ve going to dive into this,” she said. “I have some friends I’m going to live with during the week, and go home Saturday and Sunday.
“My family is going to stay in (Scarborough) right now. I don’t want to take them out of school yet.”
Asked if the family (including 9-year-old Maggie) will eventually move to Orono, Coutts said, “that would be the plan.”
For now, Coutts wants to get to know her team, which finished 18-31 last year, and start the recruiting.
“I have pretty good contacts,” she said. “I like the Northeast and I’d love to get the best kids in Maine.”
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff Writer Mike Lowe contributed to this report.