Mike Coutts was head coach of the University of Maine softball team for the past six years, winning an America East title in 2016. He will be the softball coach at the Colorado School of Mines. University of Maine photo

Mike Coutts’ tweet Friday afternoon was simple: “I just visited the world’s largest truckstop … . They weren’t lying.”

Coutts and his daughter, Maggie, had just crossed over into Walcott, Iowa, from Illinois, nearing the completion of a journey that is taking them from Orono to Colorado.

Coutts, 62, recently resigned as University of Maine softball coach to take the softball coaching position at the Colorado School of Mines, an NCAA Division II program in Golden, Colorado. He will be rejoining his wife, Lynn Coutts, who left UMaine in 2019 to become the deputy athletic director for student-athlete excellence at the University of Denver. Maggie Coutts will be a sophomore at Denver this year.

“I wouldn’t be leaving if my wife and everyone else weren’t out there,” said Mike Coutts in a phone interview. “Going to Maine, living in Orono, was awesome. Everything about it was fantastic and it certainly molded my life. Being able to have our kids (Maggie and son Jackson, who is in the Washington Nationals minor league system) grow up in Orono was awesome … I spent 24 years of my life in Orono. It has to be a special place to be there that long.

“But as a coach, you often tell your players they need to grow and sometimes that means getting out of your comfort zone. That was the thinking with Lynn when she left for Denver. And I certainly could have stayed in Orono. But this is an opportunity to grow and do different things, to get out of our comfort zone. And we’re doing something different.”

Coutts was raised in Auburn, then attended UMaine and helped the Black Bears reach the College World Series in 1981, graduating in 1982. He was an assistant baseball coach under the legendary John Winkin from 1987-97, then coached high school baseball teams at Deering in Portland (leading the Rams to a state championship in 2009) and Scarborough. He returned to UMaine as an assistant softball coach on his wife’s staff. When she became a senior associate director of athletics at UMaine in 2015, Mike Coutts took over the softball program.


His record with the Black Bears was 94-129, including an America East championship and an NCAA tournament berth in his first season. He feels the program is in good shape, even though it hasn’t had a winning record since 2016.

“I think we’re better in terms of academics and the kids we’ve had,” said Coutts. “The last few years have not been good record-wise. But I know when people see our kids on campus, they know they’re good kids, good people, and they represent the university the way they want it to be represented.”

When Lynn Coutts left, the family decided Mike Coutts would stay in Maine on a year-to-year basis. Then, when Maine announced in February its $110 million master plan for athletics, which included a new softball diamond, he hoped to stay a while longer.

“We wanted to see if we could make it to four years, to get to the new field,” said Mike Coutts. “We worked hard for a new field and that was the goal.”

But the sudden death of Maine hockey coach Red Gendron in April caused the Coutts family to reevaluate their plans.

“That really influenced things,” said Coutts. “I knew Red for a long time. We played against each other in the Twilight League way back. And (he and Lynn Coutts) talked about what if something happened to one of us. We had spent the last two yeas apart. So we started to look at it more seriously.

“Then when this opened up, it was a chance for me to coach and work. And I was fortunate enough to get it.”

He starts his new position on Monday. The Orediggers were 22-15-1 last year and have had winning seasons in four of their last five years.

“I don’t need time to rest or relax,” said Coutts. “Let’s go.”

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