Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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I.J. Pinkham has coached Boothbay boys’ basketball for 36 years, with just three losing seasons. But it’s his quiet, steadfast demeanor that has won the respect of players and parents.
Brion Controvillas/courtesy Boothbay Register
Pinkham's younger son, Tim, played for him and is now an EMT and firefighter in Boothbay. Older son, Matt, is a local lobsterman. Pinkham's wife, Peggy, was a top administrator at St. Andrew's Hospital and Health Care Center in Boothbay.
For years, Pinkham collected tickets at Boothbay football games. Head coach Tim Rice was a former player. His father, Dennis, has been Pinkham's assistant for 20-some years. In this town, so much is connected.
"He's such a legend," said Woodin. "The kids know his record. He gets their respect. He's earned it."
Friday, I noticed the hoarse rasp in Pinkham's voice. "Maybe I yelled too much last night," he said, referring to a loss to Dirigo High for the Mountain Valley Conference championship. "We were ahead by 17 points."
Except he probably didn't yell. That's not his style, remember? Two years ago Pinkham was diagnosed with throat cancer. He continued to coach, driving to Brunswick for his chemotherapy. "I dodged that. Coaching was the best thing for me."
He loves basketball and its lessons. He loves teaching players how to enjoy the game by being disciplined when they play.
"Our enrollment is declining (down to 224 in grades 9-12) but I always seem to get a lot of kids out for the team. The key is communicating. I let you know what you're getting yourself into."
There's a sign high on the wall in the front of Pinkham's classroom, near the clock. "Mathematics is not a spectator sport."
Life is not a spectator sport. Pinkham has taught that, too.
Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at: