The University of Maine is bringing home one of its alumni in an attempt to rebuild the school’s struggling men’s basketball program.
Chris Markwood, the 2000 Maine Gatorade Player of the Year from South Portland High School who played his final two years of college basketball at UMaine after transferring from Notre Dame, is the choice to replace Richard Barron on the Black Bears’ bench.
“Coach Markwood is everything we could hope for in a men’s basketball coach,” University of Maine athletic director Ken Ralph said. “He is a Maine native, a UMaine alum, a former Black Bear captain, and a long-tenured, successful assistant coach with significant experiences in the Northeast.
“His outstanding work and documented accomplishments at Maine, Vermont, Northeastern and Boston College has fully prepared him to be a head coach. UMaine men’s basketball got a lot better today. We are thrilled to be able to welcome Chris and his family back to Orono.”
Jon Rothstein, a college basketball insider for CBS Sports, first reported Markwood’s pending hiring on Sunday evening.
Markwood will be introduced as the Black Bears’ new head coach virtually on Monday afternoon, with an on-campus introduction planned for Wednesday, said Tyson McHatten, the University of Maine’s senior associate director of athletics for external operations and communications.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to be the new head men’s basketball coach at the University of Maine,” Markwood said. “I would like to thank director of athletics Ken Ralph and President Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, who are united in their strong vision for the future of Black Bear basketball.
“The state of Maine, and the University of Maine, are home to me and have always held a special place in my heart. I am extremely excited for the opportunity to partner with our student-athletes and lead this program to new heights. Go Black Bears!”
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Markwood will return to the Orono campus after spending the last 16 years as an assistant coach at four New England Division I programs, including the 2021-22 season at Boston College.
The Eagles went 13-20 overall and 6-14 in the Atlantic Coast Conference this winter before winning their first two games in the conference tournament. Boston College’s season ended with a 71-69 loss at the overtime buzzer to the University of Miami in the league quarterfinals on March 10.
Markwood graduated from UMaine in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and sociology after captaining the last Black Bears men’s basketball team to win an America East tournament game as a senior.
He joined UMaine head coach Ted Woodward’s staff in 2006 and spent five years as an assistant, working with the team’s perimeter players and helping to develop four America East all-conference selections and two all-rookie picks.
Markwood joined the coaching staff at the University of Vermont in 2011 and helped guide the Catamounts to three postseason appearances in his three seasons there, including an NCAA tournament berth in 2012 and an NIT bid in 2014.
Markwood became an assistant coach at Northeastern University in Boston prior to the 2014-15 season when the Huskies earned their first NCAA tournament appearance in 24 years.
He was promoted to associate head coach in 2018 and served as the recruiting coordinator while overseeing practice and game-day planning, skill development, academic monitoring and student-athlete mentorship.
Markwood was named the top assistant coach in the Colonial Athletic Association in 2020, then a year later left Northeastern after seven seasons to join Earl Grant’s staff at Boston College.
Markwood is the first Pine Tree State product to become the Black Bears men’s basketball coach since Skip Chappelle, the Old Town High School graduate who guided the program from 1971 to 1988.
Barron and the university mutually agreed to part ways on Feb. 17, late in Barron’s fourth year as UMaine men’s basketball head coach. Barron coached the Black Bears to a 21-75 overall record before giving way to interim head coach Jai Steadman, who led the team to a 1-3 record in its last four games.
Ralph and a search committee charged with finding the next head coach reportedly interviewed five candidates last week from an original pool of more than 100 persons who submitted application information.