In recent years, boarding schools around Maine have welcomed an increasing number of students from China.

Now the state is starting to see an educational export:

Veteran coaches.

Tom Maines, who guided Morse High to three straight basketball state championships between 1987 and 1989, and Kerry Kertes, who won six swimming state titles at Cape Elizabeth, are both bound for China.

Maines, 64, will coach men’s basketball at Shantou University in southeast China. Kertes, 53, will direct the aquatics program at the International School of Beijing.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Maines said. “It’s a brand new adventure in my life.”

A 2009 inductee into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, Maines grew up in Windsor (and attended school with kids from nearby China and South China), began his head coaching career at Mexico High and continued at Waterville, Morse and Madison. He owns a career mark of 357-152, is the former president and co-founder of the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches and continues to lecture at coaching clinics.

This is a coach who instructed his players in the proper way to sit on the bench (no slouching, feet in, stand and clap when a teammate comes out of the game and slide down one seat), who made seating charts for bus trips (and forbade headphones or talking) and who videotaped timeout huddles (woe be to those caught kibitzing with fans).

The university is providing an interpreter, a Chinese assistant coach, and a strength and conditioning coach. Maines has watched video of his future team and said the players are comparable, skill-wise, to a good Class A high school team from Maine.

“Fundamentally they’re weak,” he said. “But I think they’re going to be hard workers, good concentration, want to learn, want to get better.”

Best of all, Maines said, he won’t hear complaints from parents. Or if so, lacking any knowledge of Mandarin, he won’t understand them.

“I think that’s (causing) a deterioration of Maine sports,” he said. “Too many parents think that their child, son or daughter, is the best there is and should be playing more. I don’t know a coach, especially at the high school level, who will not play the best possible group that he can, or she can.”

The opportunity to coach in China arose in late March through a recommendation from Cheverus Coach Bob Brown, whose son Brett is an assistant with the NBA San Antonio Spurs and head coach of the Australian Olympic men’s team.

Bill Tomlinson, an Australian friend of Brett’s, is coaching the Chinese women’s national team and asked Bob Brown if he knew of someone capable of and interested in teaching defense, because Tomlinson planned to jump to a professional team and needed a replacement.

Brown thought of Maines, who pulled together a resume and passed it along. After retiring from education in 2009, Maines had given the consulting business a try. In a tough economy, it didn’t go particularly well, so he was looking for another challenge.

Tomlinson eventually remained in his position but was impressed enough with Maines that he mentioned the Shantou University job.

“Apparently this college program has been neglected,” Maines said. “They want to put some effort into it to revitalize it. They want an American coach coaching the team.”

A coastal city, Shantou is densely populated and on the same latitude as Miami. A 2006 census listed nearly 5 million residents, more than three times the population of Maine.

Culturally, Maines will need to adjust his coaching style.

“Make sure I don’t confront,” he said. “You know, I get on kids, but the teaching process is threefold.

“My function as a teacher is to show you, tell you, get hands on. So we have three different methods of learning to find a way for you to understand what I want done.”

The university offered Maines a four-month trial beginning June 1. If, by August, both sides are happy with the arrangement, a two- or three-year contract is likely.

The university is providing Maines with a two-bedroom apartment and taking care of his living expenses. His wife, former Brunswick High basketball coach Rita Maines, remains an administrative assistant at the school. She’ll stay behind as Maines gets a feel for the situation, and visit in August if it seems like a good fit.

“If she likes it,” he said, “we’ll stay.”

KERTES ISN’T going on a trial basis. He signed a two-year contract with the K-12 International School of about 1,800 students located on a 33-acre campus in suburban Beijing.

About 40 percent of the students are American. The others hail from South Korea, Japan and 50 other countries.

Kertes recently resigned his teaching position at Cape Elizabeth High, where he has spent the past 20 years after previously coaching and teaching in Colorado and Texas.

He had continued to coach a masters swim program at Donald Richards Pool after giving up the high school team five years ago.

It was a casual dinner party conversation with one of his masters swimmers last summer that led to a February phone call from China, asking if Kertes would be interested in applying for two positions.

An interview took place over Skype. Four days later, Kertes was offered a job.

Like Maines, Kertes is at a point where all his children are grown and on their own. His youngest, Maureen, recently graduated from college and teaches English.

His new job title is aquatics coordinator/physical education teacher/teacher.

“I think you wear many hats when you’re in that position,” he said. “Eleven hundred of them take swim lessons so it’s a very big program. And swimming is their only year-round sport.”

Kertes said the school’s swim team has been Asian champions for the past four or five years. Away meets aren’t conducted across town; they involve air travel to Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Manila or Seoul.

“I see this as an opportunity to work with one of the strongest schools in the world and in an area where I’ll be able to be adventurous,” Kertes said. “I can take time to travel in all parts of Asia.”

Kathleen Kertes, his wife, works at IDEXX Laboratories in Westbrook. She’s a scientist at heart, Kerry said, with experience in teaching as well. She’ll go to China as a dependent, while he was able to secure a work visa.

They plan to fly to China at the end of July and not return to Maine until the summer of 2013.

The only hesitations, he said, were leaving behind friends, students and his masters swimmers, who meet three times a week before school with Kertes. Their going-away gift was an iPad, so he can blog or email or send photos of his adventures.

“It’s going to be really interesting,” he said. “I have no idea what I’m getting into but there’s not one bone in me even nervous about what I’m doing.”

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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Twitter: GlennJordanPPH