SALEM TOWNSHIP – Dinner at the Cowan household just got a little more interesting.

Heath Cowan has spent the fall sports season coaching the Madison High School golf team where his son, Ty, is a senior with the Bulldogs.

In just a few short months though, they will be matched up against each other as Heath Cowan confirmed Tuesday that he will be taking over as head boys basketball coach at Mount Abram. The Roadrunners and Bulldogs play each other twice during the regular season.

“When I told my son I got the job he was kind of excited,” Heath Cowan said. “Madison is certainly going to be one of the top teams in the conference and he’s excited about the opportunity to face his dad on the hardwood.

“We’ve gone against each other a little bit physically, but certainly having his dad stalking the other sidelines will be an interesting balance at home. I told him, I said, ‘dad has a few tricks up his sleeve, you haven’t seen them all.'”

The addition of Cowan was just one move in a busy day for Mount Abram athletic director James Black, as it was also confirmed that Larry Donald had been hired to coach the school’s girls basketball team.

“There is a little nervousness but there’s also some excitement too,” Black said of having to fill two major coaching positions in one season. “Your goal is to bring the best people in for the job and get the kids involved in athletics and compete at a high level.”

According to Black, a committee comprised of himself, school board member Kim Jordan, student Tristen Dyer, parent T.J. Romanoski and science teacher/soccer coach Jim Danala were charged with the task of hiring the two new coaches.

Cowan brings an extensive amount of experience to Mount Abram, mostly coaching girls hoops. Prior to his new position he had stints as head coach of the Gardiner and Skowhegan girls teams, and last year he was an assistant on Jason Pellerin’s staff at Lawrence.

“I was intrigued by the opportunity,” Cowan said. “Last season being at Lawrence with coach Pellerin, working with him with the varsity and doing the sub varsity team for him just kind of confirmed it would be something I would really like to get into.”

Cowan said he does not have any previous experience with any of the returning players on the team outside of watching his son’s Madison team play Mount Abram, but that he does not anticipate getting up to speed being an issue.

As far as the style he would like to play, Cowan is hoping the Roadrunners can live up to their namesake.

“They have the perfect mascot for it,” Cowan said. “The teams that I have coached that we’ve been successful with – certainly on the girls side at Skowhegan and Gardiner – were make it a 32 minute game. We’re going to be on you from the time the balls goes up and certainly that’s the style I would love to play.

“Pressure for 32 minutes and run when we’ve got it and get as many easy baskets as you can. Certainly we’ll have to take a look at what we have for kids out there and see if that fits. If that doesn’t fit then we’ll certainly have to make some changes but if we could do that that would the preference of the type of game that I would like to play. It’s fun to coach and it’s fun to play.”

While Cowan certainly has plenty of experience coaching, Donald is far from new to the game in his own right.

“I’ve been coaching 30-plus years at one level or another,” Donald said. “I’ve been wanting to get a crack at the varsity level just to see if I could do it. I’ve had pretty good success at the other levels.”

The 51-year old manager of the Farmington Farmers Union does have some brief head coaching experience at the high school level, as he served as an assistant at Mt. Blue for six years and in his final campaign finished the season as the interim head coach. He also has 12 years of experience coaching middle school basketball.

A native of Farmington, Donald said he also applied for the Mt. Blue girls basketball head coaching position that went to Gavin Kane. When the Mount Abram job became available he was more than happy to put his name in the hat.

“I figured Mount Abram is the next best thing as far as being close by, a place that I can get to from work relatively easy,” Donald said. “They’ve had a bit of a rough time the last few years since Doug (Lisherness) left so I figured I’d go up and see what happens.”

As far as his coaching philosophies go, Donald said he expects his team to work hard but also to enjoy themselves.

“The kids that play for me seem to have fun. I definitely want to win as much as the next guy but I definitely realize that it’s a game,” Donald said. “These kids got to have some fun while they’re doing it, it can’t be like a job.

“…If you’re going to come play for me you’re going to work hard but we’re going to have some fun along the way.”

Donald and Cowan will not be the last additions for the Roadrunners though. Black said in addition to finding assistant coaches for both teams, he is also searching for a new head alpine ski coach and head baseball coach.

Evan Crawley – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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