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Casey to coach Falcon girls' basketball
RUMFORD -- When Ryan Casey initially began coaching, there was a different direction. However, the time away instilled a different perspective and a return to the sidelines has been a breath of fresh air.
Casey is looking forward to continuing broadening the horizons in his new role of varsity girls' basketball coach at Mountain Valley. The veteran mentor certainly isn't entering the fray blindsided because he coached the Falcons girls JV basketball team (14-1).
''Last year was really a surprise,'' said Casey, who had coached the MV boys team for 10 years. ''I felt like I could offer some experience and support. After being part of a high school team again I really fell in love with coaching all over again. The girls are awesome they took my craziness on the sideline and played hard, hard fun and made me want to be part of it.''
Casey admits that many things have changed in sports and coaching, but it is still one of the best ways to impact kids, teach, and be part of a team. He missed that so much and when the job opened up, he consulted with his wife, Jessica ( married 15 years this summer) and children Emma, 13, and Ethan, 10, and decided to apply.
''I think that coaching is so different for me,'' said Casey. ''Now it's more fun and it's about building a team and being part of a team and growing young people while learning how to play a game. When I was younger and first coaching, it was all about winning and the competition. Now I see a bigger picture.''
Casey believes the lessons learned from teams have been helpful through out his own life and can see the value for these athletes in the long run. Still, he has those competitive juices engrained, but priorities are solid and appropriate now.
Casey has discovered a difference between coaching boys and girls, however, he is prepared for the intangibles.
''I think the biggest difference that was a challenge for me at first was how literal the girls took my words and my directions,'' said Casey. ''They really listen and do exactly what you say. Boys hear a few words and they are off. I see that as such a huge strength for female athletes.''
But more then the gender difference the bigger eye opener for Casey was the change in sport overall. When Casey was last coaching, the kids were different, but currently sees a ton of entitlement issues from kids and parents. He hopes to be able to show these young athletes that nothing in life is free and you have no guarantees.
''But the hard work and the journey are still worth it,'' said Casey. ''This summer, we set solid footing and those who came to camp worked hard had fun and support teammates. I think they are starting to see that it takes more then just showing up. I feel like we will earn everything we get this season and we will be able to stand proud win or lose because we worked hard.''
Casey believes the players are losing that sense of entitlement and they understand there is no guarantees regarding playing time, position, or making the team.
When was hired as principal at Mountain Valley Middle School last decade, the board asked him to step down for a year so that he could concentrate on the job. As hard as it was, in hindsight it was a great decision by the school leaders.
''It gave me time to grow as a husband, a father and as an administrator,'' said Casey. ''So it's really not a policy; it was just a smart decision at the time. Now that time has passed, I have shown that I can do the job and manage my time so that coaching will be a positive impact not a negative impact on my job as principal.''
Casey coached the MV boys to the 2003 regional championship, losing to Winslow in state game. The new girls' JV coach, Craig Milledge, was the starting point guard on that team.