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Familiar faces among new MUHS coaches

MIDDLEBURY — At Monday night’s spring sports meeting at Middlebury Union High School, activities director Sean Farrell told the gathered athletes and parents he had never had a busier time preparing for a season.
Four MUHS varsity spring coaches stepped down since the spring of 2012, and Farrell also had to find three new JV coaches.
Deciding to leave, in order of seniority, were:
•  Baseball coach Doc Seubert, who last fall decided that almost four decades was enough of heading the MUHS boys’ soccer and baseball programs.
•  Softball coach Marie Eugair, who during the offseason changed jobs, a move that made it harder to meet a coaching schedule.
•  Track and field coach Emily Marquart, a former MUHS employee who accepted a job elsewhere before the beginning of this school year.
•  Boys’ lacrosse coach Patrick Ivory, who had intended to stay, but late this winter took the head coaching job at his alma mater, St. Michael’s College, when that program’s longtime coach stepped down.
The good news, Farrell said, is that he is happy with the results of the four job searches.
MUHS hired longtime area youth baseball coach Charlie Messenger, also a former girls’ basketball coach at MUHS, to take over the Tiger baseball team.
“I’ve known Charlie for years,” Farrell said. “He coached my son’s Little League team.”
Farrell cited Messenger’s former varsity high school work as well as his years of devotion to youth baseball.
“His commitment to young athletes has been significant,” he said.
Farrell did not have to look far to replace Eugair, a former Otter Valley standout and assistant: JV coach Polly Rheaume, also a successful youth softball coach, was promoted after several years in that position.
“Polly was the logical candidate,” he said. “She is certainly devoted to the program and to helping young athletes.”
The choice was well received, Farrell added.
“The girls were all excited to have her as the head coach,” he said.
Farrell found two coaches to handle the track team, 2006 MUHS graduate Myka Kimberly, a former successful high jumper and sprinter for the Tiger team, and National Bank of Middlebury employee Mike Corbett, a former high school and collegiate runner from Pennsylvania.
Kimberly this winter coached the Middlebury Union Middle School gymnastics team, which practices with the MUHS varsity gymnastics team, and already has a relationship with several track athletes through that job, Farrell said.
She also has consistently volunteered to help out the MUHS track team in the years since she graduated.
“You can say she left, but she never did,” Farrell said. “It’s nice to have her back in a real official capacity.”
Corbett lacks coaching experience, but Farrell said he knows the sport and already has shown dedication, for example by reviewing last year’s roster and results.
“He’s very committed to what he’s doing. He’s just very into doing … a positive job,” Farrell said.
Finally, Farrell did not have to cast a wide net to replace Ivory: MUHS football coach Dennis Smith agreed to take over the boys’ lacrosse program.
Farrell acknowledged that Smith has to get up to speed on the nuances of boys’ lacrosse, and has been studying, among other ways, by attending Middlebury College practices.
But Farrell said Smith’s “coaching knowledge” and his well-documented ability to work with and motivate teens still made it an easy decision to bring Smith aboard, especially when experienced assistant Grover Usilton agreed to stay on. Usilton has high school head coaching experience and some college coaching in his background.
“Working together, it will be a good team,” Farrell said.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent.com.

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