AUGUSTA — A pair of Thomas College basketball coaches resigned recently to accept similar positions at Cony High School.
Thomas men’s coach T.J. Maines is the new Cony boys coach while women’s coach Ted Rioux will coach the Cony girls team. Both were approved Wednesday night by the Augusta Board of Education.
Maines replaces Tim Bonsant who retired from coaching after 19 years, the past five at Cony, while Rioux replaces Karen Magnusson who left the Rams after five seasons due to her pregnancy.
Both are full-time teachers, Maines in Augusta and Rioux in Waterville, and cited time commitments at Thomas as reasons for leaving.
“I love Thomas, I love my players,” said Maines, who posted a 89-88 record in seven years at the Waterville school. “It’s a great place. I feel like I was being stretched in a lot of different directions. Recruiting is such a huge part of college basketball.”
Maines also cited five road trips to Boston and added he was at a game in Vermont while his 9-year-old daughter was playing. He also has a 7-year-old son.
“We had 71 practices this year,” Maines said. “In high school we might have 40.”
Maines inherits a team that finished at 5-13 last season in Eastern Maine Class A and missed the tournament. The Rams return the bulk of those players.
“I work there,” said Maines, who is the middle school athletic director at Cony and teaches eighth grade social studies. “A lot of people I really respect talked about (the job). It made sense to me.”
Maines played for his father Tom at Morse High School in Bath and also for Dick Whitmore at Colby College, where he served as an assistant for several years. His teams at Thomas were high scoring and he said he believes in an uptempo philosophy.
“I want to teach kids how to play and let them play,” he said. “I’ll be 100 percent hands on and make myself available. All practices will be open. Anyone that wants to watch is welcomed to.”
Rioux, likewise, cited the demands of offseason work at Thomas.
“I was putting in a lot of time in and out of season,” said Rioux, who has two children, ages 4 and 7. “It put a lot of strain on my family.”
Rioux coached at Thomas for two seasons, posting a record of 12-38. Prior to that he coached the girls team at Waterville Senior High School for five years, going 82-23 over that span and winning three Class B state championships. He previously coached at Belfast Area High School for five years and prior to that served as an assistant with the Cony girls under current athletic director Paul Vachon.
The girls program has experienced some recent success. This past season, the Rams squeaked into the tournament and reached the Eastern A final, finishing at 14-8. The previous year, they went 21-1, losing in the state final. Cony won seven state championships during Vachon’s 23-year tenure.
“It’s a place I just thought was a perfect fit,” Rioux said. “To be able to coach the Cony girls is truly an honor.”
Rioux said his style of play will be based on his personnel but ideally he’d like to follow the pattern established under Vachon and continued by Magnusson.
“If we can run and get up in your face defensively, we absolutely will do that,” he said.
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638