Tuesday, May 21, 2013
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CHEERING THE BULLDOGS: Lawrence coach Mike McGee celebrates as time runs out at the end of game against Edward Little in the Eastern Class A semifinals last month at the Augusta Civic Center. Lawrence beat Edward Little and moved onto the regional final against Hampden, which the Broncos won on a last-second 30-foot shot.
Staff file photo by Joe Phelan
WINNING WAYS: Lawrence boys basketball coach Mike McGee retired with 350 wins, five Eastern Maine Class A titles and two state championships.
Staff photo by David Leaming
There was a quote somewhere, 'You should never have an off day on defense.' You could have (an off day) on offense. It just stuck.
The '86 team, we were still mixing things up, and in '87. But the '89-'90 team is when it really became a trademark.
TL: The first title.
MM: The first title. I think someone at the Portland Press Herald said it's manacle defense. They're just all over the place. They're in passing lanes. They're in your face. It's a crazy type of defense, and that's just the way it's been.
That '90 team and this past year are probably the two best defensive teams I've had.
TL: I'm going to put you on the spot a little bit. Give me your all-Lawrence team of the guys who played for you.
MM: That would be a tough one. We've had so many great players, it would be hard to give you five. Troy Scott, Aaron Harris, guys like that are the 1,000-point scorers, but you look at what we've built. The Steve Jaroses, Matt Saunders, we wouldn't be anywhere without them. Do you go offense, do you go defense?
I'll never forget, in 1990, when we won our first state championship, Lenny Cole got the MVP, and someone said 'Who's the MVP?' and I said 'Steve Jarose.' He took Dan Ladd out, who was averaging 25 points per game, held him to seven.
Everyone always talks about Goose (Scott), obviously. Trafton Teague was the second-leading scorer, guys like that. It's hard to mention those guys without mentioning the Kelly Dyers, the Steve Jaroses, Matt Saunders, Todd MacArthur, who's doing it down at Winthrop now, was a (beast) on defense. Guys like that set the trend for you defensively.
TL: Do you have a favorite moment?
MM: The '86 that upset (Waterville). That put us on the map and got our program going.
Lawrence had never won a state championship. In 1976, we took the bus ride home from Augusta. We had just lost to Rumford my senior year, 81-80 (in the Class A state final). We were greeted by a gym full of people. The gym was packed. I said 'Someday, I'm going to bring this town the Gold Ball that they deserve.'
In 1990, we did it. I made that promise in 1976. There's nothing like riding on the bus all the way home from Portland with the Gold Ball sitting in front of you, winning your last game.
Every coach will tell you, there's nothing like winning your last game of the season. At 2:30 in the morning, the gym was full.
TL: A least favorite moment?
MM: 4.2 seconds. The same thing happened in 1988. We were the first Lawrence team to go in No. 1. We played Presque Isle, No. 8, and that was the only team that I didn't totally prepare for. And it never happened again.
That might have been one of the best teams I coached. We had three lefty guards, which is fabulous, and we were ousted in the first round.
TL: Prior to announcing your retirement, was there any time you considered leaving, because you were burned out or just to move on to another place?
MM: Absolutely. I've had a couple offers to coach in college. There was a couple high school jobs in (southern Maine) that were intriguing. When Deering opened in '99, a few of the Deering parents contacted me to look into that job.
But I don't have a resume. I've never put a resume together. As far as going somewhere else, that was not really the question as much as burnout. I put so much into it. I go home every night, and even if it's a road game, I stay up and watch that game so I can prepare for practice the next day. I watch who we're playing, because you just don't have time during the school day to do it. I probably go to bed around 1, 1:30., on average. If we're home, I'm lucky if I'm in bed by 11:30.
It was important to me, after 31 years, to go out on my terms, doing it my way. And I did it my way. I was never swayed by parents. We know a lot of programs where the parents run the program. I was never swayed by politics, and I'm lucky to say I'm going out on my terms. I don't know of many coaches who are doing that right now.
That's important when you've done it for so long.
TL: How do you want to be remembered?
MM: He got everything out of his kids every year. His kids gave him everything they had. Nobody wanted to play them in a tournament game or a regular-season game, because his kids played so hard. They played tenacious. They played with class, and they did it the right way.
Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242