Christopher York is the next Morse boys basketball coach. Courtesy photo

BATH — Christopher York is ready to take the next step of becoming head boys basketball coach at Morse High School.

Morse recently announced that York, an assistant coach the last two seasons, would take over the program from longtime coach Tom Maines, who retired in August.

York, 38, said he sought some advice from Maines, who in 2018 was diagnosed with thymic cancer and eventually had his left lung removed. He has undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatments and previously said he is now cancer-free.

“He told me to be the best version of myself, and not to try and fill anyone’s shoes,” York said. “He is an amazing example of how to teach the game in the correct way.”

Morse has struggled in recent years, going 1-17 last winter, but Maines — who is a member of both the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame — was starting to turn the program around.

Maines started coaching in 1968 and retired with 374 wins, highlighted by winning three straight Class A state championships in the 1980s.

York is looking to bring some of his own philosophies to the program, but acknowledged it would be wrong to stray away from what Maines taught.

“There’s no reason to mess with some of his strategies,” York said.

However, York added there will be some changes.

“I’m going to look to get mismatches for our guys and will draw up creative plays out of the timeout,” York explained.

York will bring the mindset that hard work and defensive energy will result in baskets on the offensive end. A firm believer in translating turnovers to points, York said he will emphasize pressure defense and will run a variety of plays on offense.

Morse Athletic Director Nathan Priest said the transition should be smooth.

“In a year of so much unknown, having the stability of continuing to work and learn in the same system that we’ve had was attractive,” Priest said.

Priest added that he received nine strong applicants for the position.

“I’m just excited to coach these guys,” York said.

York isn’t necessarily looking at victories to judge the team’s success this upcoming season.

“I believe the wins are going to come,” York said. “We’re going to judge our success on our growth as a team on and off the floor, and leaving it all out there on the court.”

Barring impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on winter high school sports in Maine, Morse is scheduled to begin tryouts Nov. 16.

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