Bill McAvoy, who amassed 351 victories during a 28-year coaching career at Central Aroostook of Mars Hill and Katahdin of Stacyville, has ended a five-year retirement by taking over the boys varsity basketball program at Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook.

“Bill’s got a wealth of information and experience,” said Southern Aroostook principal Jon Porter. “His teams play hard and they play the right way. He’s a master motivator who knows the game of basketball, and we’re privileged to have him here.”

McAvoy has a career coaching record of 351-194, highlighted by an Eastern Maine Class D championship with Katahdin in 2000, four other trips to Eastern Maine championship games (Central Aroostook in 1982 and 1987, and Katahdin in 1997 and 2001), and 15 overall appearances in the regional semifinals.

McAvoy’s teams’ have qualified for postseason play in 25 of his 28 years on the sidelines.

McAvoy played on an undefeated Class S state championship team under coach Ron Marks at Sherman High School in 1967, the last year before that school was part of a consolidation that formed Katahdin High School. McAvoy then played under Marks on the first Katahdin team, helping the Cougars to an undefeated regular-season finish.

He went on to study and continue his basketball career at Unity College before returning to northern Maine to begin teaching and coaching at Central Aroostook.

McAvoy served as a junior varsity coach under Frank Keenan at CAHS for three years, then took over the head coaching duties in the 1977-1978 season. He coached the Panthers for 13 seasons, compiling a 163-88 record.

He returned to his alma mater as the head coach in the 1992-1993 season, and guided Katahdin to a 188-106 record in 15 seasons before stepping down in 2007.

No baseball coach yet at So. Aroostook

Southern Aroostook has yet to hire a baseball coach for the 2013 season.

Murray Putnam, the school’s only varsity baseball coach since its inception in 1973, was placed on paid administrative leave by school officials last May 15 and did not return for the remainder of the season. His stipend contracts as baseball coach and athletic administrator at the school subsequently expired on June 30.

Porter continues to serve as the school’s athletic administrator, duties he assumed when Putnam was placed on leave. He said he expects the baseball coaching position will be advertised in the near future.

While school officials have not stated publicly why Putnam was placed on leave, speakers at a RSU 50 school board meeting on June 11 made references to inappropriate pictures that were posted online after the team’s annual preseason baseball trip to Boston in April. Speakers and some community members indicated that they believed the photos may have included possible instances of hazing, according to reports.

As head coach, Putnam had oversight responsibilities for the team.

Putnam subsequently canceled a scheduled June 18 meeting that was to involve himself, his legal counsel and the school board.

Putnam has coached high school baseball for 44 years, accumulating nearly 480 victories and guiding Southern Aroostook to five state championships and 10 Eastern Maine titles. He served as the school’s athletic director for 39 years.

Last spring’s Southern Aroostook team finished with an 11-5 record under acting coach Robert Betschner, advancing to the Eastern Maine Class D championship game.

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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...