North of the border: Messer claims Lion boys hoop postFormer Windjammer girls coach takes his talents to Waldo County
Belfast — Rockport resident Marty Messer is taking his high school coaching talents — well, some of them — to Waldo County.
Messer, who was not asked to return as Camden Hills girls varsity basketball coach after guiding the team four years, most recently for the 2013-14 campaign, was approved as the new Belfast boys varsity basketball coach at the Regional School Unit 20 board meeting on Tuesday, July 8.
Messer replaces Scott Benzie, who coached the Lions to a 15-93 record the past six years, including four 1-17 seasons.
The veteran coach said he is "glad I have the opportunity to continue to do something that I love to do."
"This is a brand new situation for me so I'm going to go in with the attitude that we can win and be very competitive," said Messer. "Whatever success and failures have happened in the past are all history. I'm focusing on this coming season and what we need to do to win."
Belfast athletic director Terry Kenniston said he is excited to have Messer on board.
"I think he brings a great deal of experience to our program," Kenniston said. "He's knowledgeable of the game and we're looking forward to getting him in the gym and working with kids in the next week or so."
While now being the boys hoop coach for the Lions, Messer recently has been the varsity softball coach at Camden Hills Regional High School, including in the spring. His wife, Meredith, also is the longstanding girls varsity soccer coach at Camden Hills. Their daughter, Charlotte, will be a sophomore this fall at CHRHS.
As far as coaching two varsity programs at two different schools, Messer does not "see that as being an issue."
"I've seen many coaches switch schools in the same areas many times before and it hasn't been a problem," he said. "I'll be wearing blue in the winter and red in the spring."
Messer is a 1988 graduate of Hampden Academy and attended the University of Southern Maine. He played basketball at both schools and is among the leading scorers in the Hampden Academy Broncos' history.
Camden Hills boys basketball coach Jeff Hart, who had Messer on his coaching staff for two years prior to Messer accepting the Windjammers girls varsity job, thinks Messer will be a good fit in Belfast, even if the two coaches now will meet one another at least twice a season.
“I'm happy for him,” Hart said. “I think he'll do a nice job there. I think that program is ready to make a move and he'll be a good person for the job.”
Messer led the Windjammer girls to a 49-19 record and three Eastern Class B playoff appearances during his tenure at Camden Hills.
He added he does not see his strategy changing on the court, despite making the change from coaching in the girls ranks to boys.
"I still want my teams to work hard and support each other with a common goal of winning," Messer said. "My strategies to win games and make my teams competitive change every season given the types of strengths and weaknesses each team displays. I'll have to see what kind of players I have and go from there."
The Lion boys will return several key pieces from last year's team and also have an abundance of talent in the middle school ranks. The Troy Howard eighth-grade team went unbeaten and won the Busline League championship, while the seventh-grade squad also made the Busline League finals — falling by two points to Oceanside White.