Mike Rutherford is returning as Portland High’s head baseball coach.

Rutherford, 50, was the Bulldogs’ head coach from 1995 to 2006. In 12 seasons, Portland had an overall record of 192-58 and captured the Class A state title in 1998. His teams won three Western Maine titles.

Rutherford also served as the baseball coach at Westbrook High, from 2008 to 2011. His teams reached the Western Maine final three times, losing each time. Overall, the Blazes had a 59-20 record.

In 16 seasons as a varsity coach, Rutherford has an overall record of 251-78.

“I’m excited I’m back at Portland as the varsity head coach,” Rutherford said Friday.

“I’ve wanted to be a varsity coach again, but I didn’t now exactly when it would be because I didn’t know when Tony (DiBiase) would get done. Portland is where I want to be.”

DiBiase resigned as Portland’s head coach last fall after four seasons. For the past three years, Rutherford has been Portland’s JV coach.

“Mike brings a lot to the program,” said Portland athletic director Rob O’Leary. “It made sense to go in that direction. We’re looking forward to Mike bringing Portland back to prominence in baseball.”

Rutherford, who teaches history and serves as an assistant football coach at Portland High, said the baseball landscape has changed in the past decade. In particular, not as many kids are playing youth ball in Portland.

“The talent pool has shrunk. There are some talented players in the city, just not as many as before.”

Rutherford said his Bulldogs will be young this spring.

“Ryan Ruhlin is the only player back who finished last year on varsity,” he said. “I know we have some good young talent, but they’re inexperienced. I coached all these kids in junior legion so I know what they can do.”

The Bulldogs will be bolstered by the transfer of Dan Marzilli, who pitched for Deering last year.

Rutherford was a two-time All-Telegram League player who graduated from Portland High in 1983. He won the Fitzpatrick Trophy as a quarterback in 1982. He played baseball at the University of Southern Maine under Ed Flaherty and was named a Division III All-America during his junior season in 1986.

Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at

[email protected]