February 26, 2013

Coach-mentor steps away from Massabesic football

John Morin says one reason he left was not being able to 'reach' the athletes like before.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

WATERBORO – As the 2012 high school football season drew to a close, John Morin sat in his coach's office at Massabesic High school one afternoon, talking about how the culture of sports had changed over the years, and how he was adapting.

click image to enlarge

John Morin admits it’s daunting to think about a fall without football – but he’s grateful that he had the chance to “live my dream.”

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John Morin decided in January to step down after 16 years as Massabesic High School's football coach.

Staff file photos


Years John Morin was the Massabesic football coach


Times the Mustangs made the playoffs under Morin, reaching the regional finals three times


State championship won under Morin, in 2000 with a 12-0 season


Morin's overall record at Massabesic

Asked how long he thought he would continue to coach the Mustangs, Morin hesitated for a moment, then said, "I spoke to guys like Mike Landry and Mike Bailey and Pete Cooper about that. They all told me, 'John, when it's time, you'll know.' "

On Jan. 22, Morin resigned as Massabesic High's football coach, ending a 16-year stint that saw the Mustangs qualify for the playoffs 11 times, advance to the regional finals three times and win one Class A state championship, with a perfect 12-0 season in 2000.

His overall record was 78-70, but his impact went much further than that.

"John's a great coach, a great man," said Kevin Kezal, the coach at Thornton Academy. "This is a big loss for our league.

"He cares deeply about football. Not just Massabesic football, but football in the state of Maine."

Recently Morin spoke about his resignation – and where he goes from here.

"Part of me is scared," he said, sitting in his assistant principals' office at Massabesic. "What am I going to do come Aug. 19 next year? I shouldn't even know the season starts Aug. 19 next year, but I do.

"When I was 10 years old, I walked on a football field in August. I have done that for the last 45 years. And if things remain the way they are now, I will not. I'm okay with that now, but part of me is worried about how am I going to feel that first night in September on opening night. Part of me wonders about that."

Morin's resignation did not come as a surprise to Massabesic Athletic Director Brendan Scully, nor was it an easy decision for Morin to make.

But, Morin said, "Over the last four years, the program has not been going in the direction we would like to see it go. When I came here, it was not in a good place, we worked and got it in a good place.

"We took a little dip and then we fixed it and then had another good run. It started to dip again and this time I haven't been able to fix it. So some things need to change and I think right now the best way for that change to happen is from the top. Is that an easy thing to say? Is that an easy thing to swallow? No. But it's the best thing right now for the athletes and the people involved in football in this district."

He dismisses the assumption that his resignation wasn't his idea.

"I've been fortunate that I was able to run the program under my own terms," he said. "And I was able to leave under my own terms."

He doesn't know what the future will hold. Maybe, he said, he'll simply spend time with his wife, Louise, and "watch the leaves change. Usually they're green and then I have to vacuum them when they're on the ground. I don't know what happened in between."

He knows Louise and their children (Brianna, Alayna and Tyler) sacrificed much. "Maybe it's time for me to make the sacrifice," he said.

He may get back into football, but it would have to be the perfect situation. It's hard to put something away completely when it's been part of your life for so long. His first coach was his father, John Sr. Morin played at Edward Little High in Auburn under Doc Hersom, then at the University of Maine under Jack Bicknell.

(Continued on page 2)

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