Yarmouth boys’ soccer coach Mike Hagerty announced Wednesday that he is retiring after 27 seasons with the program. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Mike Hagerty won a record 14 soccer state championships during a 30-year career, including 13 titles during 27 seasons as coach of the Yarmouth High boys.

But it’s not the titles or accolades that matter most to Hagerty, who announced Wednesday that he’s stepping down as Yarmouth’s coach.

“Don’t get me wrong. I love winning. Winning’s great. But it’s the relationships you make with your players and their families that will last long beyond the trophies,” said Hagerty, who won his first state title as coach of the Deering girls in 1995.

“Today, I was inundated with texts and emails from former players and former players’ parents, and none of them mentioned state titles. They would mention the relationships. And this year’s seniors, I’ve known them since they were 3 years old. I’m going to miss that, to have known kids and their families for so many years.”

Hagerty, 56, went 344-63-48 at Yarmouth. Including his three seasons at Deering, his career record is 371-72-58.

Hagerty built one of the state’s premier high school programs, which had as its foundation two strong town-based soccer programs in Yarmouth Community Services and Yarmouth Colts Soccer. Hagerty has been instrumental in developing Yarmouth’s soccer culture from the ground up. He started working with the Yarmouth Colts around the same time he got his first Yarmouth teaching job in 1993.

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“The Lynch family, Ciaran and his then wife Anne, they founded the Colts when I happened to be doing student teaching in Yarmouth,” Hagerty said. “They founded a program ready to grow, and I landed here at the right time. The Colts are what grew Yarmouth soccer.”

Hagerty said he had been planning to resign after the 2022 season.

“That way, I would be able to watch my daughter Maya’s senior (soccer) season without any conflicts. We had been coming up with this plan, and then the new Mainers showed up,” Hagerty said.

Prior to the 2022 season, several immigrant families were placed in Yarmouth hotels. Hagerty and his wife, Cindy, who have six children, took in one new Mainer whose sister lived in a neighbor’s home.

Hagerty said he felt it was important to stay in his coaching position for one more season to “help them acclimate to Maine and to Yarmouth.”

Hagerty is going out on top. Yarmouth has won eight of the last nine Class B championships, including the last four. This past fall, after beating rival Cape Elizabeth in the South final, Yarmouth rolled to a 7-0 victory over John Bapst of Bangor.

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Yarmouth boys’ soccer coach Mike Hagerty won a Maine-record 14 state titles, including one while coaching the Deering girls early in his career. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Over the past five years, the Clippers have consistently ranked among the top teams in New England and beyond. His team reached as high as No. 8 in the 2019 national United Soccer Coaches’ poll.

Hagerty said he’ll continue as a seventh-grade language arts and mathematics teacher at Yarmouth’s Frank H. Harrison Middle School. He will also continue to stay connected to soccer as one of the co-presidents of the Maine Lightning club program, and hopes he can help out Yarmouth’s next coach in any way.

“I hope my assistant, Justin Morrill, takes over and the whole staff stays on,” Hagerty said.

Hagerty grew up in Portland, graduated from Deering High and played four years of soccer at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. He started his coaching career in 1990 as an assistant coach with the Deering girls, then took over as head coach from 1993-95.

Yarmouth won the Class B boys’ state title in Hagerty’s first season there – 1997.

Over his career, Hagerty won many state and regional coach of the year honors. He was named the Maine Sunday Telegram Boys’ Soccer Coach of the Year in 2016. In 2021, he was honored as the national boys’ soccer coach of the year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

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When Yarmouth won the 2023 title, Hagerty broke a tie with Falmouth’s Dave Halligan for most boys’ soccer championships in Maine. Halligan was Hagerty’s first-grade physical education teacher at the old Fred P. Hall School in Portland.

“I tell him I remember him,” Halligan quipped.

Years later, Halligan and Hagerty squared off annually in Western Maine Conference games as coaches of two of the state’s best programs. From 2000-12, Falmouth won nine Class B state titles before moving up to Class A. Hagerty and the Clippers won the other four.

“Michael’s treasure to the town of Yarmouth was the time he put in,” Halligan said. “He put in the time with the program from the very start, from first grade all the way up to 12th.

“He’s going out on top and leaving the program in a great place, and a mark of a great coach like Michael is that they’ll be successful after he’s gone because of what he’s built.”

In an era where many high school athletes specialize in one particular sport, Yarmouth boys’ soccer typically had a roster full of two- and three-sport athletes.

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“He was always huge on multi-sport athletes,” said Stevie Walsh, a 2023 Yarmouth graduate who played soccer, basketball and baseball. “First of all, I think he thought it improved athletes in general, so he was always encouraging us to play multiple sports. And when we would have summer soccer, he would always say, if there’s a conflict, there’s no need to come to soccer.”

Walsh, who played on the 2021 and 2022 state championship teams, said Hagerty had the ability to balance hard work and fun during practices.

“He finds that perfect in-between,” said Walsh, who scored the go-ahead goal in a 3-2 championship win against John Bapst in 2022.

As players grew up in the Yarmouth town programs, they looked forward to playing for Hagerty, said Liam Hickey, another 2023 graduate who is also Hagerty’s nephew. Once they got to high school, they had developed a love for the game, and most kept playing through their senior season.

“He did a great job of making sure everyone felt valued on the team and they felt important,” said Hickey, who played center back. “Whether they were a guy playing the whole game, going in as a last-minute sub, or not playing at all, everyone wanted to be there.

“He would have to kick us off the field because we were staying too long,” Hickey added. “It just showed how much he made people want to stay involved with Yarmouth soccer.”


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