SOUTH PORTLAND – Greater Portland Christian School is returning to Class D in basketball this winter and hiring a veteran coach to guide its boys’ team during the transition.

Len MacPhee, who coached men’s basketball at the University of Maine at Farmington for 24 years, will be on the Greater Portland Christian bench this season as the Lions resume a Maine Principals’ Association schedule after playing in a Christian school league.

MacPhee, a South Portland native, also served as UMF’s women’s basketball coach for seven years and the school’s athletic director for another seven years before retiring.

He came out of retirement to coach the Rangeley boys’ basketball team for five seasons, and said coming out of retirement a second time was an easy decision.

“I have some connections to Greater Portland Christian,” said MacPhee, 69.

“My sister’s kids went there. I’ve known some of the people there for some time. There was an opportunity and I felt I could help them out.

“I’m pretty excited about it. It will be fun to get back in. Basketball has been a lifelong love.”

MacPhee said coaching at Greater Portland Christian will bring back memories of an earlier time in Maine high school basketball when small schools and small gyms were all around the state before school consolidation.

“Greater Portland Christian has a gym like that,” he said. “It’s a throwback.”

The Lions will play home games at Baxter School for the Deaf in Falmouth.

At Rangeley, MacPhee’s teams qualified for the tournament in three out of his five seasons. He last coached six seasons ago.

“We’re very excited about having Coach MacPhee as our coach,” said Greater Portland Christian AD Chris Spaulding, who is in his first year.

“Going back to Class D is a step up. Having Coach MacPhee will make it easier. The boys are excited.”

MacPhee was a standout on South Portland’s 1958 Class A basketball state championship team. He played basketball and baseball at the University of Maine.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

[email protected]