At heart, ultimate fan of children

Coaching, teaching, supporting in Beveridge's blood

Athletics part of her life as Beveridge always in coach-, fan-mode for Windjammers, Schooners
By Holly Vanorse Spicer | Apr 04, 2019
Photo by: File photo/Mark Haskell Coach Cheryl Beveridge, back left, poses with her last middle school team.

Camden — Perched on the bleachers in the gymnasium at Camden Hills Regional High School, Cheryl Beveridge has watched — over the course of many years and seasons — as her former middle school basketball players battled up and down the court as they sought, now as teenagers, game wins at the varsity level.

Among the many memorable moments came recently when Beveridge watched Kassie Krul take a free throw, rise to the tips of her toes, and sink the ball into the net. For the longtime coach, who taught Krul the stationary shot, it brought a sense of pride.

Retired now, the 65-year-old Beveridge spent more than three decades wearing the title of coach. While some of that time also was coaching softball, she was a longstanding, recognizable face for middle school girls basketball.

The Camden resident has been, not only a key figure in the community's athletics as a coach, but she has been instrumental in the development of the programs now in place for girls youth sports.

And she has been, over the years, lead cheerleader for all things Windjammers.

She was a part of the creation of the middle school girls basketball league for Mary E. Taylor in Camden, as well as a part of the start of the Little League softball program.

From her own time in sports, when basketball made the change from six-on-six court play, to five-on-five, to the current court rules and regulations, Beveridge has watched the game evolve.

Beveridge's teaching/coaching career, in a sense, began at the age of 12. As a part of the Leaders Program offered by the then Camden Area YMCA, Beveridge showed young children the basics of tumbling.

“We had a group of us, we did things at the Y. I taught 5- and 6-year-olds tumbling when I was 12. That was one of my classes,” said Beveridge.

During her senior year of high school (she graduated from Camden-Rockport High School in 1972), Beveridge, who was a standout athlete — she was a strong defender and passer in basketball — said she had a lot of study halls, which left her bored.

“I went down to the gym and I helped teach phys ed with the phys ed teacher. I was her assistant and stuff like that, she taught me things and I taught the younger kids,” she said.

It would not be until after she graduated high school that she moved fully into the world of coaching.

Beveridge married her husband, Steven, the fall after high school graduation. At the time, she was working, but knew it was not what she had really wanted to do.

The following year, she received a call from a woman, in search of a coach for a women's softball team, and had been given Beveridge's name as someone to contact for the position.

"We didn't have enough women, so I got some more community women that I used to play with," said Beveridge.

The team she coached that year, was sponsored by The Boatshed, which is now the spot of the Waterfront Restaurant. They won half of their games that season.

"I had women that didn't even know which way to run to first," Beveridge said.

She set to work, and recruited more women for their second year. At the end of that second year, her team won the championship game.

Returning to coach for a third year, she took the team through an undefeated season, and another championship win.

It also was during this time that the Mary E. Taylor School began its middle school girls basketball program.

Beveridge said she would go to the gym during basketball season, and hang out with the girls she used to play with. At the time, Earl Sprague was the athletic director. She said Sprague approached her with an offer.

"He saw me there, and said 'Cheryl, what are you doing nowadays?' " she said.

She told him that she was between jobs, bored, and hanging out with the girls.

He asked if she would like to coach a junior high basketball team.

"I said, that sounds like fun," she said.

That first year of the program, there were 25 seventh- and eighth-grade girls. Practices were held at 6 a.m. every morning, because that was the only time they had access to the gym due to other teams and practices.

"I had to get all of our games. Which meant calling all the schools, letting them know we had a team, and asking them if they'd play us," she said.

She added that the parents had to take care of all of the transportation.

"Our very first game was Belfast. The score was 30 and one," she said.

"Everybody was new. Nobody knew what a sideline was, or an end line was. We were really starting from scratch," she said.

During the season the team worked and learned. When they played Belfast a second time that season, the score was tied at 10 points all-around at halftime.

At the end of that season, she recalled the photo that The Camden Herald took of her team that year, along with she and her assistant coach, Cathy Hardy.

"You can't tell who are the coaches, and who are the players, because we were so young," Beveridge said.

After getting the junior high program up and running, Beveridge stepped away from coaching for nearly a decade. During that time, she had four children — Amy, Clinton, Deidre and Barry.

Beveridge said that she was 29-years-old when she made her return to coaching.

When her oldest daughter, Amy, was 9-years-old, the Camden-Rockport area Little League softball was formed. Beveridge was a part of that, alongside Gary Spinney, and David Turner.

“Everybody was new, everybody walked, nobody could pitch,” she said.

She said looking back, they should have had an adult pitcher to get it across the plate, and let all the girls try.

“But I’m telling you, the skill level of the girls now is unbelievable going through middle school. They are whipping that ball,” she said.

For two years, Beveridge moved up from middle school softball, to coach softball at the high school level.

“I had nowhere to go, but up. The school’s record before that, for two years prior to that, was zero and 16,” she said.

She said at the end of her first year, they had won a total of seven games. Beveridge added that one of the opponents the Windjammers beat was the team that won the state championship game the season before.

The second year she coached the varsity team, Amy was a freshman, and softball happened to be her main sport.

“I didn’t chose her, because she was my daughter,” Beveridge said.

Beveridge said that she was not going to coach her daughter because she felt that it was not fair for her, and did not want her to feel as though she were stifling her.

“I didn’t coach for my children. I coached because I loved to coach,” she said.

“It’s hard coaching your own children, and not feeling like you’re promoting them,” she said.

After that season, Beveridge went back to coaching junior high softball. However, she needed to give the principal, who was still Mike Weatherwax, her word of commitment.

“He told me that he liked longevity, and asked if I was in it for the long haul,” she said.

Another break in her coaching career came when she stepped into the shoes of athletic director for the Camden-Rockport Middle School in 2002. Beveridge said that it was hard for her to take care of her athletic director duties, and coach, so she made the decision to step back from coaching.

On going for the position, she said that she approached then principal, Weatherwax, and asked if he though that she would be able to do the job.

"He told me he knew I could," she said. Adding that the position was a lot of work.

"I was on the phone a lot. In those days, you had to get your own referees. In basketball, we just gave them the games and they assigned it. It was well worth it,” she said.

Beveridge said that for softball, an official would not be assigned.

"So I would get one, and they’d say, ‘I can only pencil you in, Cheryl’, because if there is a rain out, then they’d be assigned on our days,” she said.

She said that she had a list of people that were not board officials for when that happened.

"I would start calling. I had a long enough list, thank goodness," she said.

The day of her father's funeral, she said she was on the phone for three hours that day, trying to find an official for a game, because a high school game had gotten rained out earlier, and rescheduled for the same day as the middle school game, and they lost their scheduled official.

"It started to take its toll," she said.

"Weatherwax wanted the taxpayers to be able to utilize things, wanted people to be able to utilize the gym," she said.

She added that, at one point, there were 14 basketball teams between the adult leagues, and school-age, that she had to work around.

It was not just during the school year, Beveridge also had to take care of the planning and scheduling during the summer months as well.

During the summer, it was her job to assign the off-season, and off-school time for sports like adult softball, and soccer.

Beveridge, also one to lead the cheers of Windjammer fans at basketball tournament games at the Bangor Auditorium over the years, said that it was less work than the school year duties were, but it was a lot to juggle and manage during that time, as it also was their growing season for the farm stand she and her husband operate at their home in Camden.

It was less work than the school-year duties, but still a lot to juggle and manage because that was during their growing season/time at their farm stand

"I had a lot of things on my plate at the same time, because the vegetable stand each year got more and more and more, because business got better, and better, and better. Which is a good thing," she said.

"Things got so busy," she said.

She made the decision to step away from the position.

From there, she returned to coaching basketball, and did so until the end of the 2017-2018 season, when she officially retired from coaching. However, she admits that it has been hard to step away.

“It’s hard to go cold turkey,” she said.

This year, she went to some of the practices with the Camden-Rockport Middle School eighth-grade girls team.

“It was my last team, they all knew me,” she said.

Aside from being a part of the practices for the eighth-grade team, Beveridge also found herself wearing the coach hat this year to one of the youth basketball teams at the YMCA.

Her son, Clint, was the coach for the team, but his work schedule of four days on, and four days off made it hard for him to be able to be at games or practices. She said that there were some moms that tried to stepped up and tried to help, but they had not played basketball.

Beveridge said that it was her daughter-in-law who approached her, saying that it was hard for the children on the team to get the instruction they needed, and asked Beveridge to help.

“That’s been my life, that’s just been my life. Sports have been my life,” Beveridge said.

Beveridge, who also has needed to regroup from health issues at times over the decades, said she still has about half of her game books from her time as as coach.

After reading about Camden Hills Regional High School boys varsity basketball coach Jeff Hart's 500th win in recent years, she began to go through her books to tally her wins. She wanted to see if she had made it to 100 wins.

In the books she had, she did hit the 100 wins. Tallying that with what she remembers for wins from games she did not have the books for, she knows she has over 100 wins from her coaching career.

"Some years we won at least half, some were more than half," she said.

“We did have a good time. The kids enjoyed it, I think, I hope. I enjoyed it,” she said.

Now that YMCA youth basketball is done, and she and her husband are both retired, she is spending her time focusing on their farm stand.

She said they started the stand with the intent for it to cover the cost of their property taxes, and over the years, it has grown to be successful, and does just that.

“I call it every day is a Saturday,” she said.

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