Time for UMaine to open up the checkbook for this coach

Amy Vachon deserves a raise. Ken Ralph, make it rain today! Yes, I know she still has two years left on her contract. And I am aware that her team is one game under .500 at 13-14. But I say she still should get some more cash thrown her way because this year she’s turning in one of the best coaching performances in all of women’s basketball.

Maine is 9-4 in conference play. They have won 5 games in a row. With three games left in the season the Black Bears are tied for second place in the America East standings. One of their few conference losses is by only four points to Stony Brook, who is 24-1 and has won 21 in a row. On the road.

And the Black Bears are doing all of this with just SIX players. Most games Amy plays five starters and generally speaking, one player off her bench.

That’s because the Black Bears have been crushed by injuries. Early in the year they lost Blanca Millan, the reigning onference Player of the Year, for the season. Of the fourteen players on the roster, most nights UMaine suits up 9 or fewer.

Yet the team is resilient and never quits. Vachon has them playing and practicing hard.

It’s a long season and not many teams spend as much time on a bus as teams do from Orono. These young athletes must be exhausted. Yet night in and night out they are not just competing, they are winning.

It would have been wicked easy for everyone involved to just wash their hands of this season and move on to class work, boyfriends and spring break. It doesn’t appear that plan was ever remotely considered.

We all know Amy’s story. High school phenom at Cony. Star guard for the Black Bears. She won a state title as a coach at McAuley in Portland. Plus she led UMaine to back to back NCAA tourney trips in her first two years at the helm of her alma mater.

And now she’s turning in one of the best coaching jobs in the country.

This Tweet from her former boss Richard Barron is right on the money.

“Really proud of @BlackBearsWBB and @coachamyvachon plus staff. Amy has taken what we built together and put her own stamp on it. Everyone on that team contributes in their own way to the team’s success. Results>Drama/Me. Impressive.”

Mr. Ralph please don’t mess around. Reward Amy Vachon with money and security, now. Because if you don’t somebody else will. And that would be adding insult to all of these injuries.

Jeff Solari

About Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports e mail newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in Bangor.