Winslow High field hockey Coach Mary Beth Bourgoin has some fun with her players during a preseason practice in 2019. Bourgoin won her second state title that fall, leading the Black Raiders to the Class B championship. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

For the second year in a row, two Maine high school coaches have been named national 2020 Coach of the Year for their respective sport by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Falmouth High’s Dave Halligan notched his 1,000th combined career victory as a coach of boys’ soccer and boys’ basketball during the 2019-20 school year. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Falmouth High’s Dave Halligan was tabbed as the national boys’ soccer Coach of the Year and Mary Beth Bourgoin, the field hockey coach at Winslow, was the pick for the girls’ Coach of the Year in the “other” sport category. The awards are based on the 2019-20 school year. Falmouth won the 2019 Class A boys’ soccer title and Winslow was the 2019 Class B field hockey champion.

Both are graduates of the high schools where they coach. Halligan, 69, is a 1970 Falmouth High grad and was a physical education teacher until retiring prior to the current school year. Bourgoin, 52, is a 1987 Winslow grad. She teaches U.S. history to eighth-graders at Winslow Junior High.

“I’m in this great little town, we’re not that big anymore, and I’m completely shocked and humbled by it,” Bourgoin said.

“It’s humbling. It really is,” Halligan said. “Sometimes you do things and you don’t know if anyone notices. But (this honor) means we’ve been surrounded by a lot of good people. It’s a program award because if you don’t have solid program, good kids, good administration, good parents, good community, you don’t win things like this. And, it’s a cumulative effect. It’s what you’ve done for a number of years.”

Maranacook Nordic ski coach Steve DeAngelis and Camden Hills girls’ soccer coach Meredith Messer were NFHS National Coaches of the Year for the 2018-19 school year. Lewiston girls’ tennis coach Anita Murphy and Skowhegan field hockey coach Paula Doughty are also former national award winners.

To be eligible for the national honor, coaches are first selected by their state associations as a statewide winner. That honor in turn makes them eligible to be one of eight sectional winners. The eight sectional winners are considered for the national Coach of the Year.

“I think it is a true reflection of the quality coaches we have in our state,” said Mike Burnham, the executive director of the Maine Principals’ Association. “They’re not only worthy of state recognition but regional and national recognition as well.”

Halligan said because the NFHS is an organization that promotes and supports school-based athletics, he suspects more than a win-loss record is considered for the coaching honors and that could be why Maine coaches have been honored frequently.

“I think it says that we do things, or try to do things, the right way,” Halligan said. “We’re teaching the life skills and the qualities of young people that we would like to see them have. The winning and losing sort of gets you noticed but the way we do things helps too.”

“I’m competitive. I’m a competitor, but it’s not about winning and losing. It’s about relationships and having fun,” said Bourgoin, who has been Winslow’s varsity coach since 2006, compiling a 173-59-5 career record which includes the 2014 Class C state title and 2015 Class B North crown.

Bourgoin and Halligan were previously honored as the Varsity Maine girls’ team and boys’ team Coach of the Year for the 2019-20 season. In addition to the soccer title, Halligan was also cited for his work as Falmouth’s boys’ basketball coach and for his 1,000th combined career varsity win as a soccer and basketball coach. Halligan’s teams at Falmouth have won 12 state titles in soccer and six in basketball.

“I know the award is for 2019-20 but I think it’s a nice summary of a long career,” said Falmouth Athletic Director James Coffey

Bourgoin’s love of having fun was captured in a photo during a dance-off competition at a preseason round-robin field day at Winslow. With Bourgoin front and center, the Winslow team is holding their field hockey sticks as if they were microphones, doing a choreographed dance number.

“I actually have that picture in my classroom. I got it as a gift. It’s an unbelievable photo. We do have a lot of fun. We laugh a lot,” Bourgoin said.

The NFHS honors national coaches of the year in the top 10 boys’ and top 10 girls’ sports (based on participation), a national spirit coach, and also one boys’ coach and one girls’ coach in the other sports that are not within the top-10 in terms of participation.

This is the second time in Halligan’s coaching career he has been named a national Coach of the Year. In 1998 he earned the honor from the United Soccer Coaches.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.