To state that Richie Oliver has coaching experience would be, well, an understatement. For about 17 years non-stop he has coached baseball, football and basketball to hundreds of Midcoast children at numerous levels.

His most recent coaching endeavor has been to lead the boys junior varsity basketball squad at Medomak Valley High School. However, he coached varsity baseball at Rockland District High School nine years, coached jayvee, freshmen and middle school basketball in Rockland, as well as peewee and middle school football in the city. He also has coached American Legion summer baseball in Rockland, as well as coaching boys basketball in Waldoboro the past few years.

And Oliver’s coaching list goes on.

“Now that I think about it, I’ve been all over the place,” he said about his coaching career.

So, to many, it will not come as a surprise that Oliver was approved, by the Maine School Administrative District 40 Board last week, as Medomak Valley’s new varsity baseball coach.

Oliver will replace Rodney Genthner, who had two stints leading the Panthers on the diamond.

Oliver, a 1980 graduate of RDHS where he was a standout all-around athlete, said he is excited about taking the Panther baseball position. Baseball is a sport he hasn’t coached in three years, but one that has always been in his blood, both as a player and coach.

“I was excited,” he said. “You know the kids [who play basketball] have talked about [me coaching baseball] over there. They have been asking me about it. I’m excited to [take] the challenge. I think there’s a good group of athletes over there as far as how much time has been involved with the baseball with them. “

Oliver coached baseball at Rockland nine years and his teams were successful, including qualifying for the regional playoffs many seasons.

However, two years ago, he decided to leave coaching. “It [wasn’t] because I was tired of baseball or wasn’t happy with the program or anything like that,” he said. “The reason I got done in baseball [at Rockland] was nothing to do with anything particular as far as coaching.”

At the time his son, Wade, a RDHS graduate and three-sport standout, was playing baseball for St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Wade, who played for his dad in high school, was excelling for the Monks at the time and his dad felt like he was missing out.

“I missed a lot of his first two years in college. I missed a lot of his games and the last two years I wanted to make sure I followed him a lot more,” Oliver said.

After that Oliver took the jayvee basketball position for the Panthers. “I’ve been over there [in Waldoboro] the last three years and have really enjoyed my time with the kids at Medomak [Valley] and the administration is a class operation,” Oliver said.

Oliver and the school were compatible and, even then at the beginning, there was talk about him coaching baseball at some point.

“The coach from last year, Rodney Genthner, he’s talked about getting done for the last couple of years,” Oliver said. “He’s tried to get me to do it for the last couple of years. He’s said: ‘I just need to get done and step away and have you do the baseball.’ And I just told him I wasn’t ready to do that. I wasn’t ready to get back into it, just because of the reason I got done in the first place, it wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy coaching baseball anymore, it’s just because I wanted to go see my son play in college.”

When Oliver’s son graduated from St. Joseph’s in the spring, the picture changed.

“I figured at some point I would get back into some [school baseball] program,” Oliver said. “I just didn’t know where. I knew Medomak [Valley] may open up so I didn’t know if it would be this year or somewhere else down the line, but I did fee l like I wanted to continue to coach a little bit more.”

Then when coach Genthner resigned last year, Oliver applied to coach the Panthers on the diamond.

“I kind of missed it. Baseball is something that I’m most passionate about. I’ve coached other sports, but baseball has always been my favorite,” Oliver said.

Although he is still in the process of figuring out his new coaching position, Oliver looks forward to the upcoming season.

“I know a lot of the kids, obviously, that play basketball. I’ve enjoyed coaching them there,” he said. “I’m not deep into what’s there … I just gotta get into it and see what needs to be done. They are good athletes. They’re very coachable.”

One thing Oliver knows he wants to do is strengthen the summer program in Waldoboro, something which he said is key to a strong high school baseball team.

Even more so, he will be coaching with his son Wade, who plans to volunteer during the season and is currently helping coach basketball at Medomak Valley.

“My son has been helping [boys varsity basketball coach] Nick DePatsy over there at Medomak,” Oliver said. “He is going to go to graduate school in the fall. He’s gonna help me with baseball this spring too. That will be kind of a fun experience.”

Oliver is pretty sure he can learn a thing or two as well from his son and awaits the spring season.

“He had quite a career at St. [Joseph’s]. He just finished up. He’s in the top three or four in just about every stat offensively. He’ll be able to help me in some areas instead of me coaching him.”

Wade, the conference rookie of the year in 2006, finished his baseball career at St. Joe’s second in games played (163), second in at bats (565), fourth in runs (147), fifth in hits (186), third in doubles (42), second in triples (13) and fifth in being hit by a pitches (16).

VillageSoup Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.