Gavin Kane said Thursday his decision to step down as Mt. Blue girls basketball coach after two years involved personal reasons as well a concern about the level of player commitment to — and parental involvement in — the program.

In an e-mail to the Morning Sentinel, Kane said he wanted to watch his daughter, Caitlin, an all-conference player at Mt. Blue entering her freshman year at Maine Maritime Academy, play basketball.

He also cited his frustration with what he sees as increasing parental involvement and player entitlement, and a lack of commitment by the latter, in high school sports.

“I simply don’t see the level of commitment to justify all of the time that my staff and I put in to coaching,” Kane said. “There are certainly a small handful of kids who work hard and understand what it means to try to have a successful program. But there are not enough to warrant the time commitment and effort that we put in as a coaching staff.”

He said the problem extends to levels below high school, noting he had to cancel a summer youth camp “because there aren’t enough younger kids who want to play.”

“It’s definitely difficult to see this trend and we realize we’re just not going to be able to make it work,” he said.

Kane, who has over 500 career wins in girls and boys basketball coaching stops that also included Rangeley, Dirigo and Spruce Mountain, sent a letter of resignation to Mt. Blue administration earlier this week.

A 1978 Mt. Blue graduate, he compiled a 20-16 record in his two years there, reaching the Class A North quarterfinals both years. During that time, he coached daughters Caitlin and Chelsea, who will be a senior in the fall, and had his son, Connor, as an assistant.

“Despite the move, I certainly don’t leave feeling sour grapes. I had a great group of kids to work with the past two years and shared some great memories,” he said. “It turned out to be really awesome having the chance to coach my two daughters. That was an unbelievable experience for this old coach. I also truly appreciate the opportunity to coach at Mt. Blue.”

“The changes we see in high school sports are very discouraging,” he added. “The bottom line is that it is much more difficult to coach now as there is so much more attempted parental influence and definitely a much great feeling of entitlement.”

Kane continued “(W)e have lost what it means to teach young people how to make a realistic commitment. And there is also such a difference in respect now. A fair number of parents don’t show the coaches respect, and the kids see that so it makes our job that much tougher.”

Kane, who played college basketball at University of Maine at Augusta, began his varsity coaching career as Rangeley’s boys coach in 1986. He won a Class D state title in 1989.

In 1994, he was named Dirigo’s girls coach and led the Cougars to a 263-17 record, winning a state record 11 consecutive regional titles (1995-2005) and six Class C state titles.

During his last four years at Dirigo, he also coached the boys team that featured 2009 Mr. Maine Basketball Thomas Knight, who went on to play for Division I Notre Dame. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Kane coached the Spruce Mountain girls for three seasons.

Kane also served as a men’s basketball assistant coach at UMaine at Farmington and a women’s basketball assistant at the University of Maine.

“We know how to coach one way and we feel we’ve had a recipe for success over the years,” he said. “Too many people are willing to change for today’s society. Unfortunately we are not — at least not in our core values and philosophy, as we feel that we teach very realistic life lessons with how we approach everything.”

He said assistant coaches Matt Clark and Rebecca Fletcher will coach Mt. Blue for the remainder of the summer basketball schedule.

Kane, who was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013, said when he took the Mt. Blue job that he believed his coaching career was winding down. But he would not rule out a return on Thursday.

“Who knows? Maybe I will resurface again somewhere,” he said. “There isn’t any question in my mind that I still have the passion to coach and work with young people. If I do decide to call it a career, then I feel blessed to have coached so many great kids over the years. I have incredible memories.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5639

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial3

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