Gavin Kane has resigned his coaching positions at Spruce Mountain High School where he coached girls’ basketball and softball.
Kane will finish this softball season with the Phoenix but informed administrators this week that he would not be returning next season to coach.
The girls’ basketball job vacancy has already been posted, before Kane even had a chance to meet with players to inform them of his resignation.
“There were several factors involved in my decision to step down as the girls’ varsity basketball and softball coach, but two in particular,” Kane said Thursday. “When my administrative assistant job was cut by the school board for budget purposes about three weeks ago, I knew that leaving my coaching positions might become a reality as well.
“I don’t know where my next employment will lead me, and I felt that this was the right time to step aside and not to start summer basketball and then possibly have to pull out. I knew that type of situation would make it difficult on the kids and tougher for (assistant principal and athletic director) Mr. (Lee) Hixon to hire a new coach. I currently have a very good summer program lined up for the kids and whoever replaces me.
“The other major reason for stepping aside is for family considerations. I’ve had some close friends tell me that my daughters will be graduating in just a couple of years and that I will regret missing their academic and athletic activities. That is the basis for deciding to resign at this time.”
Kane was the first girls’ varsity coach at Spruce Mountain after the merger of Jay and Livermore Falls High Schools. He coached there three seasons and went 55-4. The Phoenix lost just one regular season game during that time and have a streak of 45 straight wins in the Mountain Valley Conference.
Kane reached the milestone 500th career win with the Phoenix this past season as Spruce Mountain went 18-0 and won the program’s first quarterfinal game before losing to Wells in the Western B semifinals.
That loss came just a day after the unexpected death of a student that many of the Phoenix players knew. After losing to a strong Wells club for the second straight tourney, Kane and his coaching staff heard criticism from parents for the team’s performance. When asked about parental issues playing a part of his decision, Kane declined to comment.
Kane is in his first season as the Phoenix softball coach. Spruce Mountain is currently 5-6 and chasing a playoff berth in Western B.
“It was a very difficult decision and has been wearing on me for a few weeks now,” said Kane, who was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame last June. “I’ve met some great people who I have worked with in the high school, have coached some great kids, and my staff and I have been extremely committed to our basketball program. We are all very loyal people and it isn’t easy to walk away. I do feel comfortable knowing that we are leaving the program in great shape and with a very good team returning. I would always want to leave under those circumstances.”
The Phoenix will graduate just two seniors from the basketball team and return much of the club next season as Spruce Mountain moves to KVAC Class B.
“One regret I will have is not being able to coach our team in the KVAC next winter,” Kane said. “I was excited about the challenge of joining that conference.”
Kane says he’s unsure what is next for him, both career-wise and as a coach. Between coaching at Rangeley, Dirigo and an assistant for University of Maine, women’s team, Kane has been coaching basketball every winter for a few decades.
“We’ll see where the future takes me,” he said. “Obtaining a solid job is the most important thing for my family. If that job allows me to coach somewhere then I will look at that possibility. I can’t imagine not being on the sidelines and hopefully, I will return there at some point.”