Coach of the year is another very difficult award to bestow. There are so many devoted and excellent ones out there.

These awards were not necessarily awarded to a man and a woman, but to the top coach of a boys’ team and the top coach of a girls’ team.

Winter 2008-09 North Coach of the Year-Boys’ Team
BARRY MOTHES-Greely Hockey

Last month’s long-awaited Class B state championship simply solidified what many have known for a long time: The Greely hockey program is first-rate.

After knocking on the door many times only to fall agonizingly short, the Rangers enjoyed the finest season in their history and rolled past Presque Isle for their first title.

While a number of tremendous players have funneled in and out of Greely uniforms in recent years, the biggest reason for this program reaching and staying at the top is a man who has earned no shortage of admiration over the years.

For producing so many quality teams, most of all this championship squad, for getting the most out of his players year after year, and for the respect in which he’s held around the state, Barry Mothes is a clear choice as our Winter 2008-09 North edition Coach of the Year, of a boys’ team.

Mothes also won in 2004.

Mothes is a New Hampshire product, who excelled at hockey in high school and later played at Babson College. He came to Maine to chase a journalism career and took over the Greely program during the 1994-95 season.

Mothes took the Rangers to the regional final twice in the late-90s before missing the playoffs in 1999 and 2000.

This decade has featured countless Greely highlights. The Rangers announced they were a top competitor to stay in 2004 when they rode memorable victories over York and Yarmouth to the regional final. Even though they lost by a goal to Fryeburg Academy in the regional final, plenty of good times were still to come.

Greely returned to the regional final in 2005 and 2006 and lost close decisions to Cape Elizabeth both times. Finally, in 2007, the Rangers reached the state game, but couldn’t hold a 3-2 third period lead and lost to Brewer in overtime. In 2008, Greely got back to the regional final, but lost by a goal to York.

This winter, the Rangers were clearly the class of Class B and arguably the best team in the state. Greely fell at home to Thornton Academy in its second game, then didn’t lose another countable game, downing several top-notch Class A foes, while decimating much of Class B. The Rangers wound up with the top seed and avenged last year’s loss with an 8-0 semifinal round romp over York.

The biggest challenge came in the regional final. Not only was longtime rival and nemesis Cape Elizabeth waiting to knock Greely off, but the Rangers had to play without their standout senior defenseman Kevin Hart, who had to sit with a back injury. Mothes juggled the lineup and instilled belief that the game could still be won. Thanks to a little luck (a pair of Capers shots hit the post with Greely down 3-1) and a ton of desire, the Rangers rallied to win 6-3.

Greely had no trouble with Presque Isle in the state game and a tightly-knit hockey family finally got to exult. The celebration is still ongoing.

Mothes, who lives in Portland, teaches English at Greely and recently stepped down after eight years coaching the school’s golf team. He also recently completed his Master of Arts Degree in English.

Hockey has brought plenty of glory to the school, never more so than this winter. Barry Mothes, our 2008-09 North Winter boys’ Coach of the Year, created a powerhouse and finally brought it to the mountaintop.

2007-08 winner: Craig Sickels (Freeport basketball)
2006-07 winner: Adam Smith (Yarmouth basketball)
2005-06 winner: Jorma Kurry (Falmouth indoor track)
2004-05 winner: Scott Rousseau (Falmouth hockey)
2003-04 winner: Barry Mothes (Greely hockey)
2002-03 winner: John Maloney (Yarmouth basketball)
2001-02 winner: Scott Matusovich (Yarmouth hockey)

Winter 2008-09 North Coach of the Year-Girls’ team

BILLY GOODMAN-Greely Basketball

Billy Goodman played a key role as an assistant coach helping the Deering girls’ basketball team win two championships, then took over an unknown entity, the Greely girls’ squad, last summer.

Just as he got accustomed to his new team, Goodman faced a dilemma. Deering coach Mike D’Andrea stepped down in September, leaving his dream job available. Few would have blamed him if he’d walked away to return to his alma mater to take over the best team in the state.

Instead, Goodman stayed put and his loyalty was rewarded big-time this winter. Perception suggested Greely was a year away from being a serious contender, but the Rangers arrived a year ahead of schedule, winning 16 of 18 regular season contests and advancing all the way to the regional final.

For getting his new charges to give him their very best night after night to author a memorable season, but more importantly for demonstrating uncommon loyalty in a world sorely lacking it, Billy Goodman is The Forecaster’s choice for our Winter 2008-09 North Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.

The award puts Goodman in rareified air. He also received our Coach of the Year award in the fall after leading Deering’s golf team to an unexpected Class A state title.

Goodman graduated from Deering in 1987, was a golf standout in high school and later played at Western New England. Right after college, Goodman took over the Deering junior varsity golf job and began working the girls’ basketball team. He helped a team with little positive history become the state’s flagship program, assisting in developing several college-caliber players along the way.

Eager to test himself as a head coach, Goodman got that opportunity with Greely. The Rangers opened the 2008-09 season with an upset win over Falmouth and soon proved to be a power, dominating on the defensive end while demonstrating unstoppable offensive balance.

Greely lost only to York and Falmouth in the regular season and earned the No. 2 seed for the playoffs. The Rangers then toyed with three-time defending regional champion Lake Region and Mountain Valley in the first two rounds of the playoffs, as their defense held both teams to just 27 points. The fun ended with a loss to York in the regional final, but with almost everyone returning next year, Greely will likely be viewed as a favorite.

There’s little doubt the Rangers will be even more formidable. The players will be a year older and hungry after coming so close. They and their coach will be that much more familiar with each other.

Billy Goodman, our Winter 2008-09 North girls’ Coach of the Year, stuck around and earned his just desserts this winter. Expect even more triumph to come his way in the future.

2007-08 winner: Nick Nash (Yarmouth basketball)
2006-07 winner: George Conant (Falmouth basketball)
2005-06 winner: John Keyes (Falmouth swimming)
2004-05 winner: John Folan (Greely track)
2003-04 winner: Jim Seavey (Greely basketball)
2002-03 winner: Jim Seavey (Greely basketball)
2001-02 winner: Eric Austin (NYA basketball)

Mothes.jpgBarry Mothes (File photo)

Goodman.jpgBilly Goodman