In March, longtime girls basketball coach John Donato left the door open to coach again when he retired after seven years at Lawrence High School. This week, Donato walked through that door, accepting the head girls basketball coaching post at Orono High School.

Donato’s new job is pending school board approval Friday night.

Donato said he’s moving to the Bangor area, as his wife Kelly explores opportunities to become a school principal in that area.

“I still have the energy,” Donato said.

In over 40 years coaching, Donato has a 547-219 record, winning five state titles and 11 regional crowns. Donato’s most recent state title came with Lawrence in 2015, when the Bulldogs won the Class A Gold Ball. In 18 years at Houlton, Donato’s Shiretowners won four Class B state championships and nine regional titles.

The opportunity to coach again in eastern Maine, where he grew up and coached for many years, was appealing, he said.

“Being from the Houlton area, and playing in the Bangor Auditorium, my heart’s always been in eastern Maine,” he said.

Donato inherits an Orono team that went 5-13 last season in Class B North.

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