Sean Cavanaugh knows what it takes to be successful.
During his four years as a guard at Calais High School, the Blue Devils won four Class C North championships and the first three state C titles in program history. They were state champions in 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2008-09 under head coach Ed Leeman, winning 63 consecutive games until losing to Winthrop in the 2007-08 state game.
The 30-year-old Cavanaugh is hoping to take the Calais High girls basketball team to state championship games as he begins his career as the head coach.
He is replacing Bill McVicar, who guided the Blue Devils to a 39-3 record in his two seasons before last year’s COVID-19-abbreviated pod season, reaching the Class C North semifinals each year. He said he left to watch his youngest daughter, Sophie McVicar, playing in her freshman year at Bangor’s Husson University. His daughters Alex and Maddy were also standouts at Calais High.
Cavanaugh takes over a program that has won 12 Class C North titles and seven state championships with the last coming in 2014. He said he is excited about his opportunity after spending four seasons as the assistant boys coach at Calais, adding that coaching at his alma mater has been “a dream of mine.
“I remember the experiences I had and the relationships I had with the coaches when I played there. I learned discipline and how to work hard,” he said. “I remember the community feeling you get from being part of the team.”
Calais athletic director Randy Morrison said Cavanaugh is a “good communicator who has coached a lot of basketball. And he played under Ed Leeman.”
Cavanaugh said he learned a lot from Leeman and remembers first getting to know him when he was playing in “fourth or fifth grade.” He discovered how much time and effort it took to coach a team and the work ethic necessary to be successful.
Cavanaugh graduated from Calais in 2009 and earned an education degree from the University of Maine in 2013. His first teaching job was at the Princeton Elementary-Middle School where he also coached co-ed soccer and girls basketball. He teaches math and science in Calais.
The team has a lot of potential, he said.
“It’s a good group of girls and a good team. We have some very strong seniors, some freshmen and everything in between,” he said. “We should have some very strong guard play and we have three girls who are close to 6 feet and that will help us.”
Sage Phillips, Kendra Stevens and Alexis Donahue will be his primary post players with Mercedes Owen, Trinity Jones and Nevaeh Thomas being his top guards.
Correction: Calais is in Class C. An earlier version of this story had one incorrect reference to its class.