Travis Magnusson is the next Mt. Blue High School boys basketball coach, school athletic director Chad Brackett said Thursday.

Magnusson spent seven seasons as Dirigo High School head coach before resigning earlier this month.

“He knows the game and he comes in with a realistic vision of what we currently are, and what we can be. He knows this community is a basketball town,” Brackett said.

Magnusson cited location — he resides in Readfield and teaches physical education and health at Maranacook Community High School — as a factor in his decision to step down as Dirigo head coach last week and pursue the Mt. Blue job.

“It cuts my drive more than in half… My wife’s really excited being closer to home,” Magnusson said. “I think (Mt. Blue) is one of the nicest gyms in the state. Not just the gym, the locker rooms, all the facilities. Touring the school and talking to Chad got me excited to do a building job there.”

Mt. Blue boys basketball has had a series of tough seasons in recent years. The Cougars went 1-17 in each of the last two seasons and have gone through several head coaches since longtime coach Jim Bessey retired following the 2012 season.

“It’s the kids who have suffered most from that,” Brackett said. “It’s been an unfortunate series of circumstances.”

Magnusson’s immediate predecessor, Charlie Castonguay, coached the Cougars for one season, stepping down for health reasons. Magnusson credited Castonguay with beginning the work with Mt. Blue’s feeder programs.

“Charlie really did a great job with the youth programs. That’s going to help me get things going quicker,” Magnusson said.

A standout high school player at Georges Valley High in Thomaston, Magnusson played college basketball at the University of Maine at Farmington, graduating in 2006. Magnusson coached boys basketball at Livermore Falls for four seasons before spending the last seven seasons as Dirigo’s head coach. At Dirigo, Magnusson had a 118-29 record, winning the Class C state championship in 2012, as well as a second regional title in 2015. Under Magnusson, the Cougars won five Mountain Valley Conference championships.

Under Magnusson, Dirigo was known for pushing the ball up the court and playing tight pressure defense. Magnusson said that’s the style he hopes to instill at Mt. Blue, first at the lower levels.

“This first season, I want to get the basics. Playing hard, being great teammates, being vocal on the bench. Those little things will be what I focus on first,” Magnusson said. “It’s hard to say, you want to play a style without seeing your team.”

Magnusson will run Mt. Blue’s summer program. The next few months will be about getting to know the players at the high school, as well as in the youth basketball program.

“The kids have got to want to play,” he said.

Brackett said Magnusson distinguished himself from the pool of candidates.

“Travis made it an easy decision for us,” Brackett said. “Some people are cocky, and some are confident. There’s a difference, and he just exudes confidence. Hopefully, the kids can feed off that.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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