AUGUSTA — Cony High School boys basketball coach Tim Bonsant announced his retirement from coaching at the school’s winter awards banquet Monday night.

Bonsant coached the Rams for five years, posting a 43-49 record over that span, one that included a trip to the Eastern Maine Class A tournament and losses in two prelim games. This year, Cony finished at 5-13 and did not qualify for the tournament. Prior to coming to Cony, Bonsant coached 14 years at Erskine Academy, where he teaches US History, and helped the Eagles to a Class B state championship in 2004.

Bonsant called his announcement a retirement rather than a resignation because he has no plans to return to coaching.

“Nineteen years is a long time,” he said. “The biggest reason was to spend more time with my wife and family. The second reason is I want to go back to school and get my Masters degree. It’s almost impossible to coach and do that.”

Both Bonsant and Cony athletic director Paul Vachon agreed that not teaching in the school was a drawback.

“That’s definitely a very difficult thing for anyone,” Vachon said. “It’s very difficult leaving a tenured position to come to a place where you find yourself low man on the totem pole. Tim did a great job. He brought a lot of discipline in.”

Changes over the past few years have affected the basketball program. Two of the feeder schools no longer exist and enrollment has dropped steadily at Cony, this year to a low of 742 students. The school also dropped its freshmen programs this year although Vachon said they’ll be evaluated on a yearly basis.

Bonsant also said teaching at Cony would have helped his coaching.

“If I taught there the connections would be much closer,” he said. “You can’t realy grow the relationships you need with kids. They see Coach Bonsant, they don’t see Tim. I absolutely loved the kids at Cony. I think we got along well.”

Despite the team’s record this season, Bonsant said the future for the team is bright. The Rams return seven players and also have  a strong group coming from the junior varsity.

“Record-wise, this was a stupid time to retire because they’re going to be good next year,” he said. “This team coming back would have been my best team by far. Those kids are ready to play.”

Vachon said the boys coaching position will open this week and he expects several applicants.

“I think we have a lot of talent,” he said. “It’s going to be a good job for somebody who would like to be involved in the community.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638
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