Dave Hainer has thoroughly enjoyed his time spent as an assistant coach for the East squad in the 2009 and 2011 Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic all-star football games.

This summer he will get to be a head coach.

Hainer, the head coach at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln during the fall, was selected to the Lobster Bowl post in late January.

That coaching job is rotated annually among coaches from Classes A, B and C schools.

“It’s been a great experience being an assistant coach,” Hainer said, “so when it came around to be Class C’s turn for the head coach this year I thought I’d like to try for it.”

Hainer will double as the offensive coordinator for the East squad, with his staff to include offensive assistant coaches Danny White of Foxcroft Academy, Chris Bartlett of Belfast, Matt Friedman of Madison-Carrabec and Dan O’Connell of John Bapst of Bangor.

Dave Sterling of Edward Little of Auburn will be the East defensive coordinator, while other defensive assistant coaches will be Bill County of Lewiston, Mike Marston of Skowhegan and Jack Brady of Mount View of Thorndike.

The East and West teams will gather at Hebron Academy for a week of practices before the 23rd annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at historic Waterhouse Field in Biddeford.

“It’s different than coaching the high school team because you’re getting the cream of the crop for the Lobster Bowl,” said Hainer. “You can put lot in during a short amount of time, and then work the rest of the week on perfecting it.

“When you’re coaching high school, you’re coaching the varsity but you’re also coaching the JVs and freshman, so you’ve really got to start from ground zero every year for the younger kids.”

Hainer also will be in a new coaching venue this spring, taking over as head baseball coach at Penquis of Milo, where he now teaches.

Hainer had coached baseball at Mattanawcook Academy the last four years, and before that coached for three seasons at Lee Academy, where he led the Pandas to the 2006 Class D state championship.

Ryan Crane, an assistant coach at Mattanawcook for several seasons under Hainer and his predecessor with the Lynx, Greg Reed, is the new MA head baseball coach.

MCI to begin NEPSAC title defense

The Maine Central Institute postgraduate basketball team will begin the defense of its 2011 New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Class AAA championship Wednesday in a quarterfinal matchup against St. Thomas More of Oakdale, Conn.

Game time is 5 p.m. at Endicott College in Beverly, Mass.

Under sixth-year head coach Dave Campbell, MCI features three early signees to Division I college programs in 6-foot-9 forward and co-captain James Farr (Xavier), 6-10 center Tobe Okafor (Loyola Marymount) and 6-5 forward Jared Brandon (Cal-Fullerton), as well as 6-8 forward Jean-Pierre Charles and 6-3 guard and co-captain Tristan Thomas, a former Bangor Daily News All-Maine honoree from Bangor High School.

MCI is seeded seventh in the eight-team NEPSAC Class AAA field, while St. Thomas More is seeded second with a 26-6 record that includes two earlier victories over MCI, 75-70 on Dec. 14 and 83-62 on Jan. 22.

The MCI-St. Thomas Moore survivor will advance to Friday’s semifinals to face the winner of Wednesday’s 11 a.m. quarterfinal at Endicott between top-ranked and undefeated Brewster Academy (29-0) of Wolfeboro, N.H. and eighth-seeded Winchendon (Mass.) School.

The semifinals are Friday with the championship game Sunday, all at Endicott College.

Among other NEPSAC schools with Maine connections, Cushing Academy of Ashburnham, Mass. — whose roster includes former Camden Hills of Rockport star and 2011 Mr. Maine Basketball Tyler McFarland and former Wells standout Andrew Furness — will take a 21-6 record into its 4:30 p.m. home Class AA quarterfinal against St. Andrew’s School of Barrington, R.I.

The Penguins opened their season with a 58-43 victory at St. Andrew’s.

Phillips Exeter (N.H.) Academy is seeded third for the NEPSAC Class A tournament and will host No. 6 Phillips Andover (Mass.) in a 4:30 p.m. quarterfinal Wednesday. Among the players on the Phillips Exeter team are former Nokomis of Newport star Chris Braley and co-captain Cam Shorey, a former Calais star who earlier this year accepted a football scholarship offer from the University of New Hampshire.

Like McFarland, both Braley and Shorey are former BDN All-Maine honorees.

Phillips Exeter and Phillips Andover played their mutual regular-season finale last Saturday, with Exeter earning a 59-52 road victory to improve its record to 14-8. Andover is 10-13.

Two other Maine schools, Berwick Academy and Hebron Academy, are seeded sixth and seventh, respectively in the NEPSAC Class C tournament that also begins Wednesday.

Bridgton’s Wood All-American nominee

Darrick Wood, a 6-5 guard from Bridgton Academy, has been nominated for the 2012 McDonald’s All-American Basketball Games to be held next month.

Wood averaged 15 points, four assists and four rebounds a game this winter for the Wolverines, who compete in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Class AAA ranks.

Wood was among 600 nominees who competed to fill one of 24 positions on the McDonald’s All-American Boys team, and the only nominee from a Maine school.

The final roster of 24 boys and 24 girls selected to play in the 2012 McDonald’s All-American Games is available at www.mcdaag.com. The 35th annual boys game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 28 from Chicago’s United Center and will be broadcast on ESPN. After the boys game will be the 11th annual McDonald’s All-American girls game at 7 p.m. and broadcast live on ESPNU.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...