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Gilbert resigns Cougar football post
DIXFIELD -- Life can be extremely rewarding and Doug Gilbert certainly enjoyed his tenure as the Dirigo football coach, but decided it’s time to pursue a new direction and resigned last month.
Gilbert initially planned to remain two years, however, the best laid plans changed. He stayed on this fall (his fifth) with young guns.
“It was important to get some consistency in the coaching ranks. The first three years of the program we had three different coaching staffs,” said Gilbert, referring to Jim Witherall from Buckfield, Alan Cayer and Hart Daly.
“It is difficult to build a good program with that kind of turn over. After my first year, I lost Alan Cayer and John Mooney; Dave Crutchfield stayed and Dana Whittemore joined. In the third year, circumstances changed, so I stayed.”
During Gilbert’s rein, Dirigo football teams won 35 of 49 games. The program improved and in 2009 the Cougars went 12-0, culminating with the 37-20 win over Foxcroft Academy for the gold ball. It was the first football crown for the Cougars since 1975 when it shared a Class D title with Boothbay in 1975.
Gilbert helped construct a quality program, so the new coach will certainly have a solid foundation.
“The program is in good shape,” said Gilbert. “I think the talent has always been here at Dirigo. It just needed a little guidance and direction to bring it out.”
Gilbert confirmed that a coach has to be in pretty good physical shape to coach an entire season. Typically, Gilbert was in the gym three days a week.
“But I had a nagging injury,” said Gilbert, who has been the wrestling coach for the past 15 years. “It hung around and prevented me from getting into the physical shape that I needed to be. Because of this I fatigued both physically and mentally as the season wore on.”
Gilbert, a certified football official since 1999, will continue to referee high school games, with plans to earn a college officiating license. He is the current president of the Augusta Chapter of the Maine Association of Football Officials.
The Augusta Board (80 members, largest in the state), currently services 21 schools systems and two prep schools. Telstar will be added this year.
“The growth over the last ten years and with technology we have some issues to address,” said Gilbert, regarding constitution and the by-laws. “My predecessor did a remarkable job laying the ground work for the changes. But we've got to put these issues to bed.”