Former Old Orchard Beach boys basketball coach John Regan talks with his son and new OOB coach Matt Regan during a recent practice. COURTESY PHOTO

OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Fans of Old Orchard Beach High School basketball will know the name John Regan — and for good reason.
Regan put together a legendary career as OOB High School’s boys basketball coach – including leading the Seagulls to the 1988 Class C State Championship.
During his 21-year career at the helm of the OOB program, Regan won 214 games and led the Seagulls to the Maine Principal’s Association state tournament on 14 different occasions.
Community members and the district administrators certainly haven’t forgotten what Regan did for the program and the school as they will honor the former coach on Dec. 20.
The high school gym will be renamed in Regan’s honor before the Seagulls’ game against St. Dom’s. The ceremony is set for 6:40 p.m. and the varsity game will follow.
“It’s really something special,” said Regan. “When I think back of the people that I respected along the way – Joe Regina, Art LaChance, John McSweeney – different parts of the (athletic complex) are named after people I respect a great deal.”
The coach has plenty of fond memories from his time in Old Orchard and it all starts with the people he met along the way.
“I think it’s the community. It’s the whole community. I went through school here and so to come back and coach in the community I grew up in was special,” Regan said.
One of his favorite memories is the 1988 season that brought a Gold Ball back to the beach.
“The 1988 team will always be special because for this community there probably wasn’t a team that anybody had ever seen before quite like that. We had the size. We had the speed. We had the quickness. To go 21-0 and win a Gold Ball was special,” Regan said.
Like all coaches, the one thing that is more important than the wins and losses is the relationships they build with their players.
“I was blessed to have some really good teams with some great kids and those are the things that you remember – the kids,” Regan said.
Regan may not be coaching anymore, but he has built an impressive coaching tree, which includes current OOB athletic director and girls basketball coach Dean Plante, OOB boys basketball assistant coach Curt Chretien and Thornton Academy boys basketball coach Bob Davies.
“That’s always nice to see when you look back and see kids that played for you, and you look and see the success that they’re having now. It means a lot to me,” Regan said.
Plante, who played on the 1988 title team, believes Regan had a unique ability to connect with his players.
“I think the thing that made John special is what makes the best coaches, the best coaches. He found a way to connect beyond the sport with kids and the student-athletes wanted to play for him and go above and beyond for him because they knew he would do the same,” Plante said.
The impressive group of former Regan players who are now coaches also includes his son, Matt Regan, who is entering his first year as the head boys basketball coach at Old Orchard Beach.
“I’m real happy for Matt and he’s real excited to get started. I think he’ll do a wonderful job,” said Regan.
Matt Regan is thrilled to see his dad receive this honor from the community he loves.
“It’s a really cool honor and I was excited for him,” said Matt Regan, who knows he has some big shoes to fill. “It will be a little bit of pressure, but it will be fun. I’m excited for it.”
Just like Plante, the younger Regan was eager to follow the path that John Regan paved in Old Orchard Beach.
“It was cool growing up with him obviously being my role model and I kind of followed in his footsteps as far as getting into coaching and I teach health and (physical education) like he did,” said Matt Regan.

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