Gavin Kane said Thursday his decision to step down after two years as girls’ basketball coach at Mt. Blue in Farmington involved personal reasons as well a concern about the level of player commitment – and parental involvement – in the program.

In an email to the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, Kane said he wanted to watch his daughter, Caitlin, an all-conference player at Mt. Blue entering her freshman year at Maine Maritime Academy, play basketball.

He also cited his frustration with what he sees as increasing parental involvement and player entitlement, and a lack of commitment by high school athletes.

“I simply don’t see the level of commitment to justify all of the time that my staff and I put in to coaching,” Kane said. “There are certainly a small handful of kids who work hard and understand what it means to try to have a successful program. But there are not enough to warrant the time commitment and effort we put in as a coaching staff.”

He said the problem extends below high school, noting he had to cancel a summer youth camp “because there aren’t enough younger kids who want to play.”

“It’s definitely difficult to see this trend and we realize we’re just not going to be able to make it work,” he said.

Kane, who has more than 500 wins in girls’ and boys’ basketball coaching stops that also included Rangeley, Dirigo and Spruce Mountain, sent a letter of resignation to Mt. Blue administrators earlier this week.

A 1978 Mt. Blue graduate, he compiled a 20-16 record in his two years there, reaching the Class A North quarterfinals both years. During that time he coached daughters Caitlin and Chelsea, who will be a senior in the fall, and had his son, Connor, as an assistant.

“Despite the move, I certainly don’t leave feeling sour grapes. I had a great group of kids to work with the past two years and shared some great memories,” he said. “It turned out to be really awesome having the chance to coach my two daughters. That was an unbelievable experience for this old coach. I also truly appreciate the opportunity to coach at Mt. Blue.

“The changes we see in high school sports are very discouraging,” he added. “The bottom line is that it is much more difficult to coach now as there is so much more attempted parental influence and definitely a much greater feeling of entitlement.”

Kane continued, “(We) have lost what it means to teach young people how to make a realistic commitment. And there is also such a difference in respect now. A fair number of parents don’t show the coaches respect, and the kids see that so it makes our job that much tougher.”

Kane, who played college basketball at the University of Maine at Augusta, began his varsity coaching career as the Rangeley boys’ coach in 1986. He won a Class D title in 1989.

In 1994, he was named the girls’ coach at Dirigo and led the Cougars to a 263-17 record, winning a state-record 11 consecutive regional titles (1995-2005) and six Class C state titles.

“Who knows? Maybe I will resurface again somewhere,” Kane said. “There isn’t any question in my mind that I still have the passion to coach and work with young people. If I do decide to call it a career, then I feel blessed to have coached so many great kids over the years. I have incredible memories.”