Ben Clark, middle, draws up a play during a timeout while coaching the Brunswick junior varsity boys basketball team. Clark is the new varsity head coach at Brunswick. Photo provided by Ben Clark

Several new coaches take over high school winter sports teams in the Midcoast area this season. Highlighted by Ben Clark, who replaced Todd Hanson as the boys’ basketball coach at Brunswick High after Hanson retired after 25 seasons in March, coaches are ready to go as the season is set to begin.

Along with Clark at Brunswick is Tala Glass, who takes over the Dragons’ girls ice hockey program for Mike Routhier, who stepped down in the offseason. At Morse, Ryan Maines, son of Maine Basketball Hall of Famer Tom Maines, takes over the girls basketball program for Jeannine Paradis, who left Morse to coach the girls’ basketball team at Biddeford High School in June. And at Freeport, longtime Poland Regional High School boys basketball coach Tyler Tracy takes over the Falcons’ boys program, replacing Bill Ridge.

“I have a high standard that I hope to bring with me to this program,” said Tracy, who graduated from the University of Maine-Farmington in 2007. “I hope to set the tone at practice, something the guys have done so far.”

Tracy coached at Poland for the past 11 seasons and was an assistant at UMF for two years prior to that.

“It’s still a day-to-day type of thing, we still haven’t had a practice with our full complement of players,” said Tracy. “Most of these guys have played another sport and dealt with the protocols so they are used to it.”

At Brunswick, Ben Clark takes over the boys basketball program. Clark, who lives in Brunswick and teaches in the Brunswick School Department, had been an assistant under Hanson for the previous three seasons.

“I’m just super excited and ready to get going,” said Clark on the first day of practice.

Brunswick coach Tala Glass watches during a game Nov. 27 at The Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The transition under Clark should be a smooth one from a familiarity standpoint, but the loss of seven seniors from last years’ team will prove to be a challenge.

In Bath, a familiar name takes over the girls’ basketball program despite having no head coaching experience at the varsity high school level.

“I grew up watching Morse basketball, so this is something that’s been a long time coming,” said Maines after he was hired. “This was always sort of a thing on my bucket list, and I’m very excited to get going.”

Maines takes over a program that struggled in recent years but was trending in the right direction under Paradis. While Maines hopes to continue the gradual climb, he also hopes to leave his own footprint on Morse basketball.

“I think Jeannine (Paradis) and I have similar philosophies,” he said. “With that being said, I have so much experience and knowledge I hope to give and implement within the team.”

Maines previously coached 8th grade AAU basketball as well as at Bath Middle School.

On the ice, Glass takes over the Brunswick girls ice hockey program. A graduate of Bowdoin College, Glass was a defenseman for the Polar Bears women’s ice hockey team before graduating in 2020. A native of Glencoe, Illinois, Glass led the Polar Bears with nine assists during the 2019-20 season.

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