Mt. Blue boys basketball coach Troy Norton keeps an eye on a practice session in Farmington on Tuesday evening. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal

FARMINGTON — Troy Norton is an eye doctor who has a clear vision of what the Mt. Blue boys basketball team’s future should be under his tutelage this season.

The good doctor also understands he is making the big leap from coaching youth programs to high school basketball, but it isn’t as if he is working without a net.

Dr. Troy Norton, who is also an optometrist in the Farmington area, was an outstanding player for the Mt. Blue boys basketball team and the University of Maine at Farmington men’s hoop squad.

His confidence is high because he knows the game of basketball. He was involved with the Cougars’ summer routine, so he is not going into the program cold.

Norton played for Cougars coach Jim Bessey and UMF head coach Dick Meader, both of whom still oversee the Beavers. Norton also has two other resources at his disposal — assistant Mt. Blue coaches Brian Kelly and Jason Briggs.

“I am also one of those rare people who played for both coach Bessey in high school and coach Meader in college,” Norton said. “I have been corresponding with both of them to try to get up to speed a little bit. So, basically, I am just going to take from those guys. I was lucky to play for two great coaches, and I wouldn’t have done with this with assistance from Jason Briggs and Brian Kelly. I am going to be relying on them obviously.”

Norton also played with longtime Edward Little coach Mike Adams in high school.

“When I was a sophomore, Mike Adams was a senior,” Norton said. “Mike was the guy, as you can imagine, that if you didn’t show up for summer basketball, he would be out in the driveway and be parked in the driveway waiting for you, like saying, ‘Let’s go.’ He took all of us under his wing.”

According UMF’s biography of Norton, he was “a First Team All-Maine Athletic Conference selection as a senior. Norton finished his career ranked sixth among UMaine-Farmington’s all-time leaders with 1,295 points, and third among the program’s single-season scoring leaders with 476 points in the 1995-96 campaign.”

Norton also earned MAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors in 1996 and was named to the NAIA All-America Scholar-Athlete teams in both 1995 and 1996. He was a team captain in both seasons.

“Troy was an all-conference type of player,” Meader said. “Great competitor, excellent mid-range shooter and a very good defender. (He) was able to get to the foul line with driving skills and toughness on the offensive board.

“Troy was a very driven athlete and student (and) a fierce competitor that did the right thing on and off the court.”

AN IDEA FESTERS

The eye doctor wants to pick up where Travis Magnusson left off in a successful one-year stint at Mt. Blue.

Mt. Blue coach Troy Norton provides direction during a practice session on Tuesday evening in Farmington. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal

After Magnusson stepped down to become the head coach at Maranacook, friends and former coaches suggested that Norton step up and coach the Mt. Blue varsity basketball team.

“The idea from various people started kind of planting the seed, like, ‘You might be good at this. You should consider doing this,’” Norton said. “I had been coaching at other levels. Once I started thinking about it, I started getting excited about it. The competitive juices started flowing and I started talking to Jim Bessey and talking to all these people, and started getting excited. 

“What is unique is with a varsity program, you want to build your youth programs. Well, that’s what I have been doing for the last three or four years, building the youth programs. … Now I just have to get up to speed, and it is going to be a steep learning curve.”

But Norton is ready to make his case on the court despite those challenges.

“As Coach Bessey told me, he said, ‘I think you should do it, but it is not going to be easy,'” Norton said. “I didn’t think it would be easy. The kids have been great. We had a great summer.”

Norton said that Magnusson’s impact from his one season lead the Cougars is evident.

“You could just tell, with what Travis did with those kids last year. When we played for Coach Bessey, we didn’t win every game, but we expected it. We never went on the court and said, ‘We can’t beat these guys.’ Travis got that (confidence going) last year,” Norton said. 

“I think that confidence was key. I don’t know Travis well, but at UMF, we knew each other. But he did an amazing job last year. Those kids this summer, you could tell they had confidence. When we played this summer, they played like they were always going to win.”

Mt. Blue athletic director Chad Brackett is certainly pleased that Norton decided to come aboard.

“We are very excited to have Troy as our new boys basketball coach here at MBHS,” Brackett said. “His experience with basketball at literally every single level in this area gives him a great perspective for developing the program from top to bottom over the long term. 

“He is a well respected and active member of our community who knows it as well as anyone. I think we will have him around for longer than a cup of coffee.”

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