Pendleton returns to sidelines for MarinersLegendary coach to guide Oceanside jayvees
Thomaston — One of the most successful high school boys varsity soccer coaches in state history has returned to the sideline for the fall season.
Sam Pendleton, one of only a handful of Maine high school athletic coaches with more than 400 career varsity wins on their resume, will guide the Oceanside boys junior varsity soccer squad this season.
The Mariner boys varsity team is led by Josh Mahar, while Mike Tolman, who guided the Oceanside boys jayvees last year, will be the squad's varsity assistant. Mahar and Tolman previously were Rockland District High School athletic coaches before that school combined with Georges Valley High School to form Oceanside.
Pendleton, a Hope resident, has an impeccable coaching record that, in a nutshell, speaks for itself.
Pendleton started the Georges Valley boys soccer program in 1969 and coached the Buccaneers for nearly four decades, posting a career record of 416-137-42 (.752 winning percentage). He also led the Bucs to eight state Class C championships, the most recent coming in 2003. He also coached tennis and track and field in the past for GVHS.
Not only is Pendleton a member of both the Midcoast Sports Hall of Fame and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, but the Mariners' home field — formerly the Buccaneers' home field — is named after him.
That, alone, should speak to how successful and respected Pendleton is.
Georges Valley High School and Rockland District High School consolidated last fall to form Oceanside High School. Pendleton Field is on the Oceanside West Campus — formerly GVHS.
Needless to say, both Mahar and Regional School Unit 13 athletic director Jim Leonard are more than happy to have Pendleton in the fold.
"I'm thrilled to death to have someone like coach Pendleton [in the Mariner soccer program]," said Mahar. "Not only is it good for the kids, it's good for Mike Tolman and I. We're fairly young guys, so to have a mentor like that is unbelievable."
"Obviously I'm ecstatic having Sam on board," said Leonard. "He has a tremendous amount of knowledge and brings an integrity to the program. He's a statewide coaching legend and he's a guy I grew up around when my dad was teaching at Georges Valley. I've known Sam nearly all of my life and I have a great deal of fondness for him."
Pendleton is the physical education teacher at Oceanside West, which educates eighth- and ninth-grade students in the district, in addition to being a mainstay on the sidelines for both the Bucs and Mariners in recent years in a non-coaching capacity.
"I've run the clock [and scoreboard] for the past few years," said Pendleton. "And I've also had a lot of these kids in gym class. And I really liked what I saw. I'd like to have a chance to work with these guys."
"I knew that I missed it more than I thought when I found myself officiating [and coaching] when I was doing the clock," he said.
Mahar said the idea to bring Pendleton aboard came about at the end of the last school year.
"[Mahar] mentioned that [Tolman] was going to be working with him and there was a vacancy [at the jayvee level]," said Pendleton.
"We knew the jayvee job was open and [Pendleton] said, 'Boy, if I'd have known about that I think I would have applied,' " said Mahar. "And I just said, 'Well, coach, if that's something you'd like to do, I'm fairly sure I could arrange that.' "
Pendleton said his days coaching high school varsity soccer are over, and he is looking forward to the slower, less demanding pace of coaching at the jayvee level and mentoring student-athletes.
"Coach Pendleton is so good at getting the most out of every kid and that's something that I think as a coach I can learn that is valuable," said Mahar. "How to get kids to compete at that level and that's such a gift that he has."
And as is evident by his multiple state Class C titles, Pendleton knows talent when he sees it.
And he still does.
"This [Oceanside] program can go a long ways quite fast," Pendleton said. "Within two years, there's potential for a league championship or an Eastern Maine championship. The talent is there."
Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at email@example.com.