We love ranking things and making lists, especially when it comes to sports. Much of sports talk radio is based on this simple premise. We rank things, then we argue about them.

Recently, the Maxpreps website presented its list of the top high school football coach in each state. Before I looked at it, four or five possible names popped into my head.

Maxpreps stressed their list was coaches coaching right now, not an all-time list. Maxpreps named Tim Roche of Wells as Maine’s top high school football coach. Wells won three straight state championships in 2016, 2017, and 2018. It’s hard to argue with Roche.

But let’s argue about it anyway. Nothing mean-spirited. Arguing over goofy stuff that doesn’t matter helps us cope with all the nasty stuff the world throws at us every day.

I came up with 10 coaches who easily could lay claim to the title, Best High School Football Coach in Maine. A week ago, my list would have included another name, Mike Siviski of Winslow. Siviski retired on Wednesday with more than 250 wins and seven state championships. So we tip our hat to him and take Siviski off the active coaches list.

This list is in alphabetical order. If I left off a coach you favor, it doesn’t mean I think that coach stinks. There are 10 spots. A lot of good coaches were considered and ultimately left off. If I compiled this list a week ago, one of these men would have been set aside for Siviski.


This is meant to be a fun exercise. Now put your debating cap on.

Tom Bertrand, Maine Central Institute. The Huskies have won five regional titles and two state championships since 2014. MCI won the gold ball in Class D in 2016, then moved up to Class C and won another in 2017.

Dan Cooper, Brunswick: Cooper’s Dragons have been the team to beat in the Pine Tree Conference for a while now, winning five of the last six conference titles and a state championship in 2016.

Kevin Cooper, Bonny Eagle: Cooper has never lost a state championship game. He was 2-0 as a player at Lawrence High School. As head coach of the Scots, Cooper is 7-0 in state championship games, including a win last fall. The moment has never been too big for Cooper.

Mike Hathaway, Leavitt: Under Hathaway, the Hornets are always in the discussion for a state championship. Hathaway has added three gold balls to Leavitt’s trophy case, including the Class C crown last season in a come-from-behind win over Bertrand and MCI.

John Hersom, Lawrence: Since Hersom became Lawrence’s head coach in 2005, the Bulldogs have been the most consistently good team in the Pine Tree Conference. Lawrence won the Class A state title in 2006, one of two PTC teams to win the Class A gold ball between 1987 and 2012. Under Hersom, the Bulldogs have played in four state games and reached the conference championship game each of the last three seasons.


Kevin Kezal, Thornton Academy: Since 2012, Kezal’s Trojans have won four Class A state championships and were runner-up to Bonny Eagle last season.

Joe Rafferty, Kennebunk: You don’t stick around in one place for decades if you’re not a nice person who knows what he’s doing. Rafferty has a gold ball and a couple recent runner-ups, but his longevity is as much a testament to his character as it is his ability to coach.

Tim Roche, Wells: You can’t go wrong with Maxpreps’ choice for top coach in the state. Under Roche, the Warriors are one of the premier football programs in Maine.

Alex Rotsko, Marshwood: In eight seasons at Marshwood, Rotsko took the Hawks to six Class B state championship games. Marshwood has won five of the last six gold balls, the last three in a row. Prior to coaching at Marshwood, Rotsko won 11 state championships at Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts.

Joel Sankey, Bucksport: Under Sankey, Bucksport is a perennial contender for the Little Ten Conference title. The Golden Bucks won three conference titles in the last decade, and a Class C state championship in 2004.


Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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