When Anthony Ewing graduated from Deering High in 1990, he enrolled at Keene State College in New Hampshire to study sports management

Ewing hoped to someday land a front-office job with a pro sports team.

Today, Ewing is in sports, and he is wearing a coat and tie.

But instead of swinging deals, Ewing is calling out plays from the University of New England women’s basketball bench.

In a short time, Ewing, 39, has become a coaching success, with an 80-34 record in four years at UNE.

“I had not planned on coaching,” Ewing said.

A funny thing happened on the way to the front office.

While at Keene State, Ewing expanded his scope to sports administration. He set up a practicum — a type of internship — with a high school athletic director in New Hampshire.

But then the athletic director resigned and Ewing was stuck. He needed a practicum for his degree. The Keene State women’s basketball team invited him to help with video taping, statistics and scouting.

“Once I got with the team and got that competitive fire back, I was hooked,” said Ewing, who played point guard for Deering.

After graduation, Ewing stayed with the team as an assistant under head coach Keith Boucher.

Five years later, Ewing became a full-time assistant for the strong Brandeis program, under Coach Carol Simon.

Ewing’s “practicum” was ongoing as he learned from Boucher and then Simon.

“After a couple of years, I wanted to be a head coach,” Ewing said. “I thought ‘I can do this.’ “

In 2007, UNE agreed with Ewing. He was named the Nor’easters’ head coach, replacing Curt Smyth, who was 142-118 over 10 years. Smyth is now the interim athletic director.

After a 13-12 initial season, Ewing’s team took off with a 20-8 record in 2008-09.

UNE began the next season strong, including a 72-55 win over Southern Maine, which was ranked 12th in the nation. It was the Nor’easters’ second win over USM in 37 games.

That 2009-10 team won the Coastal Commonwealth Conference and played in the NCAA tournament.

Last year, UNE won a school-record 24 games. The Nor’easters lost by two points to Salve Regina in the CCC championship game and were not selected for the NCAA tournament, but they regrouped to win the consolation ECAC tournament.

Ewing’s first recruits to UNE are now seniors. Kelley Paradis of Newport, Margo Russell of Madison and Kari Pelletier of Oxford Hills are expected to lead the Nor’easters to possibly their best season.

Matching the 24 wins will be a challenge because Ewing has toughened up the nonconference schedule.

The Nor’easters will again play USM, at home at 5:30 p.m. today, to start the season.

Other nonconference games include St. Joseph’s, Rhode Island College and four strong NESCAC teams — Bowdoin, Bates, Colby and Williams.

The idea is to keep improving, establishing UNE as a consistent powerhouse in the conference and the region.

So far, Ewing is on target.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

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