GORHAM — Gary Fifield, one of the most successful women’s basketball coaches in NCAA Division III history, announced Tuesday he will retire from the University of Southern Maine.

Fifield coached the basketball team for 27 years, compiling a record of 660-137 and leading the Huskies to the NCAA Div. III Final Four five times (1988, 1998, 2000, 2005 and 2006). His 660 victories rank sixth on the all-time list among Div. III coaches.

Fifield also is retiring from his position as Associate Director of Athletics. He will leave the university on June 30.

“Not many people have the opportunity to spend 28 years of their life doing what they truly love to alongside of great people,” said Fifield, in a statement released by the school. “I can say that I have been blessed with a career greater than I imagined possible.”

Fifield replaced Richard “Doc” Costello for the 1987-88 season and coached the Huskies for 27 of the next 28 years, missing the 2008-09 season for health reasons. The Huskies went 12-14 this winter – the first losing season in Fifield’s career and the first losing season for USM women’s basketball since 1976-77.

USM earned a berth in the NCAA Div. III tournament berth in 24 of Fifield’s 27 seasons. He was named the WBCA Division III national Coach of the Year in 2005 after leading the Huskies to a 31-3 record. USM finished third in the nation that season. He was named Little East Conference Coach of the Year a record 14 times. He has been inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and was named the head coach of the Little East’s 25th anniversary team in 2011.

“Gary’s impact on our athletic program has been enormous and his retirement will leave a great void in both the coaching and administrative areas of our department,” said Al Bean, USM’s director of athletics. “When Doc Costello retired as basketball coach, Gary stepped in to replace a true legend and icon. Now, another legend is retiring and replacing Gary will be an ominous task.”