Fritz Marseille has been named the associate head basketball coach of the Thomas College men's program. Credit: Contributed

Former University of Maine player Fritz Marseille is the new associate head men’s basketball coach at Thomas College in Waterville.

The 49-year-old Marseille, a Chicago native who played forward on UMaine’s 1991-92 and 1992-93 teams, has been close to new Thomas head coach Deshon Gaither on the state’s basketball landscape for many years.

“For one, I know how loyal he is, not just to me but to the kids of Maine,” Gaither said. “We always make the same reference, the fact that there’s [good] basketball players in Maine. He firmly believes in that, and so do I. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what class you play in, there’s basketball players here.

“I’ll put it this way, he puts his all into making sure everybody knows that.”

Marseille previously was an assistant to Gaither with the Lee Academy postgraduate basketball program several years ago, and they also have collaborated within the state’s AAU basketball ranks for nearly a decade.

“We have a common mindset as far as developing talent and going out and competing,” Marseille said. “We’re always in contact, we talk daily, and when he got the job he reached out to me and said the position had been offered to him and he wanted me to be his associate head coach.

“I was interested right away, but I just had to think about it and make sure it was the right move for me, and it’s definitely the right move.”

Marseille also operates the Black Bear North AAU training and travel basketball program, which he founded more than a decade ago.

Black Bear North features spring and fall team programs that have averaged approximately 340 participants from around the state in each of the past two years, along with other players who take part in the organization’s summer camps and individual and group basketball clinics.

“I’ve been working with kids of all levels since I graduated from UMaine in the mid-’90s,” he said. “I just thought this was the right time for this.”

Gaither was an assistant under former head coach Joe Scheuers at Thomas last winter, helping the Terriers post a 12-12 regular-season record and 9-5 North Atlantic Conference finish.

Thomas, which earned the No. 4 seed in the NAC tournament, defeated No. 5 Maine Maritime Academy of Castine in the quarterfinals and upset top-seeded UMaine-Farmington in the semifinals before falling to Husson University of Bangor in the championship game.

Scheuers stepped down in May to become head coach at Earlham College in Indiana, and Gaither was promoted to lead the Thomas program in June.

Gaither also has served as a coach and club adviser for Black Bear North AAU since 2010.

“I look at it as one, I’m working with [Gaither]; two, we’re still going to to what we do; and three, hopefully it helps open more doors for kids in the state,” Marseille said.

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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...