Brandon Dorsett, a 2005 Portland High graduate, has been named head football coach at Westbrook after a year at the prestigious IMG Academy in Florida. Photo courtesy of Brandon Dorsett

Brandon Dorsett wanted to coach at the highest level possible in high school football. So a year ago he took the position of defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at IMG Academy in Florida. Three of his players earned Division I scholarships.

Now, the 33-year-old Dorsett, is ready to bring what he learned back to Maine. Dorsett, a 2005 graduate of Portland High, has been named the new head football coach at Westbrook High. He replaces Jeff Guerette, who had been the head coach there since 2008.

“I came back to Maine because I want to be close to my family,” said Dorsett. “My wife (Angela) and I had decided IMG was a great opportunity but we’re Mainers. I want to take what I learned at IMG and bring it back to Maine. Everything we did at IMG, we’ll probably do at Westbrook, give the kids a competitive edge in terms of what we do for training.”

Dorsett’s hiring was one of several personnel moves at the end of the high school year.

Westbrook athletic director Blair Marelli said the school had about 20 applicants for the position, whittled to three finalists. ” I think Brandon has a very strong vision,” said Marelli. “His personality, his knowledge of the game and his philosophy for dealing with kids set him apart. He’s really a great guy.”

Dorsett, who played on Portland’s 2002 Class A state championship team, had previously been an assistant coach at South Portland in 2016 and Falmouth in 2017. He said he had great mentors in former Portland head coach Mike Bailey and assistant coach Lance Johnson, now the head coach at Scarborough, as well as Falmouth Coach John Fitzsimmons.

“I learned under the best,” he said.

Dorsett attended Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls,, Iowa, then played two years at Colorado State University as a linebacker. He takes over a program that went 1-7 last year. But Dorsett sees a lot of potential.

“I love the challenge,” he said. “The kids are really young right now and it’s just about teaching, more than anything else, the basic fundamentals that I believe in. We’ll start things slow with them and eventually ramp things up once get to August. We’re going to be rolling. I’m looking forward to that and know they are as well.”

He said he is retaining most of the coaching staff at Westbrook. “I’ve had great conversations with them and they are the men I want around the kids,” he said. “We’re not just football coaches, we’re life coaches. And it’s very important for them to be around the kids.”

The Blazes still have to hire coaches for girls’ soccer, golf, cheering and boys’ basketball.

WESTBROOK ALSO lost its head field hockey coach when Theresa Hendrix recently took the field hockey position at Cheverus. She is also the Stags softball coach.

“I’m sad to be leaving but excited at the same time,” said Hendrix, who graduated from Cheverus in 2010 where she was a three-sport star. “To be able to do two programs (at Cheverus) is pretty special. I had some amazing coaches at Cheverus who gave me so much. I want to give back.”

Hendrix, a health teacher at Westbrook Middle School,  said it was difficult to leave the Blazes because of the relationships she had with the players there. As a co-head coach two years ago with Beth Murphy, Hendrix helped Westbrook to the Class A state title game where the Blazes lost to Skowhegan. Last fall, with Hendrix as head coach, Westbrook lost in the regional finals to Biddeford.

Westbrook’s Marelli said the school is trying to decide how to proceed with the field hockey opening. Assistant coaches Murphy and Rachelle Messuri will run the summer program.

SUE ROBBINS’ last day as Yarmouth athletic director is Wednesday. On July 1 she takes over as the new athletic director at Gray-New Gloucester.

Susan Robbins is leaving Yarmouth High to become the athletic director at Gray-New Gloucester.

When she announced in March that she was leaving Yarmouth, Robbins had no inclination to move to another school. Then the Gray-NG position opened when Scott Walker resigned.

“It interested me and I think they can benefit from my experience and leadership,” said Robbins, who was considering assistant principal positions. “I think being an athletic director is what I’m meant to do and what I do best.”

Robbins, 44, said she was feeling burned out after 14 years at Yarmouth. The Clippers field competitive teams at every level and she had few nights when she wasn’t overseeing a competition. The Patriots offer fewer programs – no volleyball, swimming or tennis – and Robbins will have an assistant to fill in on nights she can’t be somewhere, something she didn’t have at Yarmouth.

“I”m excited about the change,” said Robbins. “I think I felt burned out at Yarmouth because sometimes it can be a grind.”

Gray-New Gloucester also has 50 fewer coaches at the middle and high school levels than Yarmouth. “I want to create meaningful relationships with my coaches, which is something I did at Yarmouth,” said Robbins.

Walker, meanwhile, said after 14 years as an athletic director, the last two at Gray-NG, he also “needed a change.”

He is looking at several assistant principal positions. “I want to advance in school leadership,” said Walker, who was also athletic director at Mt. Blue and Morse. “This was enjoyable, but I’m trying to get back to being an assistant principal.”

JACK HARDY is leaving as North Yarmouth Academy athletic director, replaced by Kelsy Ross. Hardy had been at NYA for the last seven years. Previously he had been an athletic director at Greely for 14 years and an assistant principal at Falmouth for seven.

He said he has no plans right now other then possibly applying to be a substitute teacher. “I think I’m going to miss being away from the students,” he said.

Hardy said he hopes to be remembered as someone who was “trustworthy, hard working, someone who was able to communicate and relate well to all groups. It was always important for me to be respectful to other people and for people to be respectful among themselves.”

TWO LONG-TIME softball coaches have retired.

Rusty Worcester is done after 19 years as the head coach at Georges Valley/Oceanside. He leaves with three state championships, the last coming in 2013 in the first year of the Oceanside program when Georges Valley and Rockland merged. His career record was 276-63 and his teams made the playoffs  every year.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Worcester, who is the acting director at the Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren. “For the whole 19 years we coached one way. The state title was our goal and we built the kids up to that every year. The girls embraced it.”

Worcester said the back-to-back Class C state championships in 2007 and 2008 will always be special because his daughter, Brittany, played second base. “When you win two states like that … we still talk about it all the time when we get together,” said Worcester.

Worcester said he’s going to spend more time with his family and travel to watch his grandchildren play sports. He’ll also remained  involved  in sports somehow. “I might get the itch to coach again, I may never coach again,” he said. “But I’ll be around.”

Jan Corliss is done after nearly three decades at Bonny Eagle. She coached the Scots from 1993 to 2010, winning a state title in 1992 and a regional title in 1995, then returned to coach the team the last three years. The Scots were eliminated in the quarterfinals by state champ Scarborough after pulling off a miraculous 12-9 win in the preliminary round, rallying from a 9-0 deficit.

“It’s the right decision, the right time,” said Corliss, who is 69. “Somebody is going to walk into a program that is re-established. I feel we’ve left the program in a pretty good place and that was the whole point.”

Corliss endured some personal tragedies in the last year, losing her partner of 41 years, Pam Gill, last August and a family member, cousin Elaine Letendre, in March. “Softball actually saved me this year,” said Corliss. “It gave me something to do. I filled a promise (to Bonny Eagle athletic director Eric Curtis) to coach for three years. And the kids got me through it.”

Also, Josh Stowell will not be returning as Deering’s baseball coach. He was the Rams head coach for five years.

THIS FALL, the Maine Principals’ Association will hold all soccer regional championship games at neutral sites with artificial turf. In the past, the regional title games were held at the home field of the highest remaining seeds. But inclement weather the last couple of falls has caused poor field conditions that prompted many schools to scramble for playable fields. So the Penobscot Valley Conference, along with athletic directors from across the state, petitioned the MPA to move the games to neutral fields, as the MPA does in other sports.

“We weighed all that and still didn’t know if, regionally, we had enough fields to host 16 games over two days,” said MPA assistant executive director Mike Bisson. “When we started asking folks if it could be done, while mapping out all the turf fields across the state, we got a very positive response.”

Bisson said several schools also indicted they would host regional finals even if their teams were competing elsewhere for a regional title.

The regional finals will be played over two days at five sites, with boys’ games starting at 4 p.m. and girls’ games at 6:30 p.m. (those starting times will rotate annually). On Nov. 5, Class A North will be at Bath’s McMahon Field and Class C North at Gehrig T. Johnson Field in Presque Isle while Class A South will be at Biddeford’s Waterhouse Field and Class C South at Lewiston’s Don Roux Field. On Nov. 6, The Class B North games will be played at Hampden Academy and the Class D North games in Preque Isle while the Class B South games will be at Biddeford and the Class D South games at Lewiston.

Soccer’s state championship games will be held on Nov. 9: Class A and D at Hampden Academy and Class B and C at Falmouth High.

 


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