A basketball coach with deep ties to Maine came under fire Wednesday after a recording of him threatening a student in Florida was posted on YouTube.

Mike Woodbury

Mike Woodbury, who grew up in Maine and coached youth teams here for nearly two decades, acknowledged he made the profanity-laced comments in the audio but did not apologize for the tirade.

Athletes who played on his club basketball teams in Maine said they experienced similar mistreatment from Woodbury, who now is the CEO of The Nation Christian Academy in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He attended Waterville High School and Thomas College, according to his Facebook page.

The three-minute audio involves a conversation between Woodbury and a high school player wanting to transfer from Nation Christian.

“I control transcripts. I control where you go next,” Woodbury says in the audio. “It could be back to Haiti, (expletive). That’s how easy it is for me. Listen. I’m the one thing that you don’t want to cross. I’m the dirtiest, baddest (expletive) in this program.”

He goes on to tell the student that he will use a text message that the player sent as “extortion,” and then says, “I know you’re retarded so take one of your friends and look up the word ‘extortion.’ ”

That came after Woodbury says, “I’m going to (expletive) you in your (expletive) the next time you talk out of line. I’m going to take everything from you and let it be known. I’m saying it out loud. I’m going to take everything from you. I’m going to end everything you’ve ever had.”

FORMER PLAYERS NOT SURPRISED

Athletes who played for Woodbury in Maine were not surprised by his comments or the outrage they created on social media.

“I knew this day would come,” Emily Rousseau, 29, said of Woodbury. “I honestly just thought it would come years ago.”

Rousseau, a former star at Biddeford High School who went on to play at the University of Maine and Stonehill College, was on Woodbury’s Maine Elite team in the spring of her sophomore year of high school.

“He several times referred to us as sperm banks. Yep, when we were 15,” she said. “If he wanted us to go into a game he would pull our ponytail and drag us to the scorer’s table. We had an African-American girl on our team and he said if she didn’t start playing better there would be a hate crime.”

Andrew Shaw, who played basketball at Thornton Academy and Bentley College, said the use of demeaning and profane language was common in his four years playing for Woodbury’s club teams.

“I wish I would have had the gumption to record some of the stuff he said to me and my teammates,” Shaw said. “The F-word is probably every third word out his mouth. Some of what’s in (the recording) is mild compared to what he used to do.”

Shaw cited several troubling incidents. In one, Shaw said Woodbury told a 16-year-old player he should jump off the Piscataqua River Bridge because he had played poorly at a tournament in Massachusetts.

“He certainly scarred me, and I know he scarred some of my teammates far worse than me,” Shaw said. “In some ways I used him as a means to an end to get a full scholarship. I did that, but I don’t love basketball anymore or enjoy what happened to me.”

Isaiah Harris, a former Lewiston High School star and NCAA champion in the 800 meters, said on Twitter: “Played AAU basketball for this man in high school. … Everyone always knew he was insane. This is how you run your ‘Christian Academy’?”

Woodbury did not return phone calls Wednesday, and a representative of the school said Woodbury was not available for comment.

He issued a statement Wednesday afternoon via Twitter.

“I am in no way justifying the language, however, there are two sides to every story,” Woodbury said in the statement. “This conversation did not take place at school. … Without indicting the player too much, there were multiple conduct issues while this student was attending school and living in my home with my wife and son.”

In the statement, Woodbury said the recording took place Oct. 17 and the player was asked to leave school two days later.

ANOTHER MAINER LEAVING SCHOOL

The student in the audio is now attending West Oaks Academy in Orlando, Florida, Jeff Goodman of the Stadium website reported. The audio was posted on the Coach Gillion YouTube account run by West Oaks basketball coach Kenny Gillion.

The audio has led one former Maine athlete to decide to leave The Nation Christian Academy. Former George Stevens Academy basketball star Taylor Schildroth was on Nation Christian’s post-graduate roster, but Wednesday he announced on Twitter his intent to leave the school.

“The things said on this video are terrible and completely against what I believe in. Because of this incident I have decided to return home to find a place better suited for my academic and athletic goals,” Schildroth tweeted.

Another former Maine athlete, Will Mitchell of Saco, has been playing quarterback for Nation Christian’s high school football team this fall and is listed as a member of the high school basketball team.

Woodbury was owner and operator of MB Nation, a club basketball team based in southern Maine that formed in 2008. Before that, he ran other club basketball programs, coaching youth and teenage basketball players here as recently as 2015. He coached a Maine basketball team in 2011 that won a national AAU boys’ Division I 12th-grade championship.

BARRED FROM SMCC IN 2015

In November 2015, Woodbury and another man got in a fight that was caught on surveillance video at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. At the time, Woodbury was renting the SMCC gym for tournament use.

“Following that incident three years ago, we terminated our contract with Mr. Woodbury,” said Clarke Canfield, SMCC’s communications director. “He was basically renting our gym for his organization so we immediately stopped renting to him. And at SMCC’s request, the South Portland police issued a trespassing order preventing him from coming back to the campus.”

Rousseau, the former Biddeford High star, said she had not spoken out previously about Woodbury’s behavior because she feared retaliation.

“Woody is absolutely the type of person who will hire a fancy lawyer, a high-powered lawyer, who would send me a cease-and-desist order,” she said. “I know that’s why I personally have never said anything in the past. He will go to extreme measures. When I was putting (a post about him on) Facebook I thought, ‘If he sees this, and I’m sure he will now, I have no doubt I’ll receive a letter from his lawyer.’ ”

Shaw is surprised that Woodbury’s behavior hadn’t drawn attention sooner.

“It shocks me how many people hitched their wagon to a guy who it doesn’t take more than three minutes of being around to know that he’s a crazy person,” he said. “In some ways I feel complicit, but I was just 15.”

Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig

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