UMaine basketball clinic provides rare chance to learn from all-time greats

I am not a basketball coach — and I don’t play one for the BDN.

If I was interested in learning the game from some of the most accomplished coaches in its history, I would be spending most of Sunday in Orono.

The University of Maine will host some college basketball Hall of Fame coaches for its comprehensive UMaine Coaches Clinic.

The clinicians scheduled to share their knowledge at the event include some of the pioneers in women’s college basketball, including former longtime coaches Theresa Grentz and Van Chancellor, along with Texas A&M coach Gary Blair.

“This is a great opportunity,” said UMaine women’s coach Richard Barron. “There’s some outreach involved in this. It’s not just a fundraiser or about us. This is a way to give something back.”

The star-studded list also includes former Colby College men’s coach Dick Whitmore, along with Barron, UMaine men’s coach Ted Woodward and their staffs.

NBA and WNBA skills instructor Ganon Baker, who train the likes of Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Amare Stoudemire, also will make his dynamic presentation.

Blair, Chancellor, Grentz, Whitmore and Barron have combined to register 2,616 coaching victories at the college level.

Grentz ranks 19th all-time among women’s coaches with 671 victories, while Blair (620) went into last season ranked 36th and Chancellor (529), who spent 10 seasons in the WNBA, is No. 37 in career victories.

Grentz is a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame who played on a three-time national championship team at Immaculata College. She went on to serve as the head coach at Illinois, Rutgers and St. Joseph’s, leading the Scarlet Knights to a national title.

Blair coached Texas A&M to the Division I national championship in 2011 on the strength of a 33-5 record. He is slated for induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, which already includes Chancellor, a former coach at Louisiana State and with the WNBA’s Houston Comets, including four championships.

Whitmore led the Colby program for 37 seasons from 1971-2001 and 2003-2009, posting an overall record of 607-322. His 607 wins rank fifth all time among Division III men’s coaches.

For coaches from across Maine, there has never been a better opportunity to learn basketball philosophies from such an expert panel. Coaches from all levels are welcome to attend the event, which will be held at UMaine’s New Balance Student Recreation Center.

The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a lunch break built into the program.

“It’s designed for coaches, but anybody who wants to learn the game should take advantage of something like that,” Barron said.

The clinic is $125 or $175 for those who also wish to participate in the UMaine women’s basketball fundraising golf tournament Monday at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono. Those who do not wish to play can show up for lunch for $25.

After the event, those who wish may head to Hollywood Casino in Bangor for dinner and more discussion. Barron will give a presentation on leadership and self-improvement at 7 p.m., followed by a panel of clinic coaches and roundtable sessions with all the coaches.

The general public is invited to attend the post-dinner festivities, free of charge.

For information or to register, contact Tracy Guerrette, director of women’s basketball operations, by email at or by phone at 581-1075.

This entry was posted in Basketball, Colleges, Sports, UMaine by Pete Warner. Bookmark the permalink.

About Pete Warner

Pete is a Bangor native who graduated from Bangor High School, Class of 1980. He earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He has been a full-time member of the Bangor Daily News Sports staff since 1984. Pete lives in Bangor with his wife of 35 years, Annia. They have two adult sons, Will and Paul. Pete is fluent in Spanish and enjoys visiting his in-laws and friends in Costa Rica. His hobbies including hunting, fishing and listening to jazz.