ORONO – The University of Maine men’s basketball team will have a new, but familiar face in charge next season. As former women’s basketball head coach Richard Barron has been announced as the next head coach.
ABC 7 and FOX 22 has confirmed ESPN’s Jeff Goodman’s initial report that head coach Bob Walsh has decided to part ways with the program.
UMaine Director of Athletics Karlton Creech thanked Walsh for his time at UMaine adding, “coach Walsh’s teams achieved academically while showing great toughness and perseverance on the court. We wish him the best moving forward.”
Walsh told ABC 7 and FOX 22 that he has decided not to pursue a contract extension and will be “looking forward to new challenges.”
He led the team to a 6-26 mark this season including an America East tournament quarterfinal loss to Vermont.
ABC 7 and FOX 22 has also confirmed WZON’s Rich Kimball’s initial report that former UMaine women’s basketball head coach Richard Barron will be introduced as the next head coach.
Barron has signed a five year contract with an annual salary of $160,000. He will get a $5,000 increase at the start of the second year.
“Richard Barron has an impressive track record of success throughout his career,” Creech said. “His skill as a basketball coach is unquestioned. Richard has an incredible basketball IQ, and the ability to share that knowledge through coaching and teaching. Under his leadership, our men’s basketball student-athletes will learn and grow.”
“I’m very happy and very humbled that the administration felt that I was valuable here and I have something to offer, especially these men’s basketball players and I’m going to pour myself into those kids. We’re going to love them up, they deserve it. They are one of the hardest working group of kids I’ve ever seen,” Barron said.
Much like he did with the women’s program Barron will look to transform the men’s program into a contender in America East.
“Richard’s previous success as our women’s basketball coach makes him uniquely qualified to understand what it takes to build a program here at UMaine,” Creech said. “We are excited that Richard and his family will remain involved, valuable members of this community.”
Barron’s only experience coaching men’s basketball is four years spent as an assistant coach at University of the South. That being said, the biggest question for Barron will be recruiting as most of his connections are in the women’s circuit.
“There’s no question that you have to develop certain ties you know and we’ll work very hard especially in this area to do that and again it comes down to what you’re selling and I’m really looking to talking about how great our athletic department is here,” Barron said.
When Barron took the women’s basketball head coaching job in the consensus was that he was the guy. The feeling is a little different know, being his lack of experience in the men’s game. Barron was candid saying he will make mistakes along the way. Despite all that Maine is confident he can rebuild his second team in Orono.
“Coach barron is one of the smartest people I know so whatever, not weaknesses but things he needs to be helped on he’ll get someone who’s really good at that. He’s smart and he’ll do a good job at that, Maine women’s basketball head coach Amy Vachon said.