Dirigo AD looking to keep program headed in right direction
DIXFIELD -- There are always going to be blips on the radar screen when decisions need to be made in order for sports teams to continue to operate as smoothly as possible.
Hence the situation Dirigo athletic director Charlie Swan finds himself in for the second time this fall.
The most recent dilemma surfaced following the resignation of popular football coach Doug Gilbert. Earlier this fall, Swan had to interview candidates to coach the Cougars' baseball team.
“Doug and his coaching staff did a tremendous job of helping to get our football program pointed in the right direction,” said Swan. “He is the type of coach who puts in countless hours and is very meticulous about the details.”
In 2009, Gilbert coached Dirigo to the Class C state championship. In baseball, Ryan Palmer replaced Dave Lafleur, who stepped down in June after guiding the Cougars to the state championship.
This fall, Dirigo football struggled at stages, but earned a playoff berth and finished 5-4.
Gilbert provided a positive influence on the entire program and another strong asset was his willingness to lend an extra hand. He is also the type of coach who is always willing to help, including lining the football field, dig holes for new goal posts, setting up the field the morning of a game.
The team graduated five but have six juniors, 11 sophomores and has 11 freshmen returning. The eighth graders coming up were 7-1 and league champions.
“His teams made playoffs the last three years in a row,” said Swan, who regarded the ’09 championship season as one that was fun and exciting to witness. “It will be hard to replace Doug, but I do understand that he has a desire to do more officiating and that is hard to do when you are coaching a team.”
Swan said the football position will be listed internally for 10 days and then if a suitable candidate isn’t found, it will be advertised to the public.
The current assistant coaches will provide plenty of experience and options for the search committee to consider toward providing consistency to the program.
“Obviously, the (teachers) contract says that the job has to be opened to the district employees first,” said Gilbert. “But Dave (Crutchfield) has expressed interest in the head coach's job."
Pat Mooney is in the district, but feels he needs more seasoning. Dana Whittemore has scheduling conflicts and Lou Brann will continue volunteering.