When asked to describe Steve DeAngelis, longtime coach of the Maranacook Community High School Nordic ski team, senior captain Zachary Holman suggested giving his senior letter to the team a read.

Holman’s letter is an ode to the values and principles instilled into the team by DeAngelis. Holman implored the Black Bears to work hard, keep a strong mental attitude, respect but do not fear the competition, be good teammates and have fun. He closed the letter with a personal thank-you to DeAngelis.

“Lastly, Mr. D, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, none of this would have been possible without you,” Holman wrote. “Your guidance and mentorship has been the greatest gift that anyone could ever give, and you have made me who I am today.”

In February, the Maranacook girls and boys won the Nordic Class B state titles, adding another accomplishment to DeAngelis’ 30-plus year coaching resume at the school. While titles are nice, it’s the relationships he builds with his athletes and the Maranacook community through Nordic skiing that drive DeAngelis.

It’s those relationships that earned DeAngelis the Coach of the Year award at the Varsity Maine Awards.

“I love being an ambassador for my sport,” DeAngelis said moments after accepting the award. “We do try really hard to have a community program.”

Under DeAngelis, Holman won the Nordic classical state title and placed second in the freestyle.

“Mr. D has without a doubt been one of the most influential people in my life. He has made me the man and skier that I am today,” Holman said. “I have come from a freshman who was too scared to race to a state champion. This would not have been possible without the guidance and support from Mr. D. He is not only one of my idols, but a fantastic mentor, coach, and friend.”

DeAngelis said the focus of the season is helping each athlete achieve his or her goals. When that happens, overall team success follows.

“He’s so dedicated. He helps everyone a lot. He really enjoys doing what he does,” said Maranacook skier Ruslan Reiter, who won the Varsity Maine Wow Factor award.

When he accepted his award, DeAngelis stressed the importance of the entire school community in building Maranacook’s success Nordic program.

“I am not here without my team, my parents and my community,” DeAngelis said.

Added Holman: “He has created a fantastic culture in the ski team where everyone is welcome, and where everyone is pushed to be the best version of themselves.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM