New Cony athletic director T.J. Maines poses in his new office on Thursday afternoon. The painted basketball commemorates his first victory as Cony boys basketball coach in 2013. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Timing is everything, and no one knew that better than Cony High boys basketball coach T.J. Maines when the school’s athletic director job opened up.

“It’s not something where timing is going to be perfect,” said the 49-year-old Maines. “I would have loved to have kept coaching. I’ve had an eye on wanting to be an athletic director, preferably at Cony, down the road. What I realized was, Jon (Millett) was only AD for three years. Between the summer of 1987, when Ron Kenoyer was hired, to Jon Millett getting done in the summer of 2022, there’s only (been) four ADs during that time period. If I didn’t go for it now, it might be 10 years down the road (for another opportunity).”

The Augusta Board of Education formally approved Maines as the next Cony athletic director on Wednesday night. Maines takes over for Millett, who is the new Cony vice principal.

Maines, also a social studies teacher at Cony, said time and opportunity were two of the biggest factors in applying for the job.

“I’m excited,” Maines said. “I’ve got different ideas. I want to make sure we are creating the best experience possible for our student athletes, giving them a positive experience. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to win a state championship for it to be positive, but we’re doing what we can to support the athletes and the coaches to make sure it’s a positive (experience).”

Maines, who also coached the men’s basketball program at Thomas College from 2006-13, added that he will resign as boys basketball coach to focus on his new role. Cony went 102-69 in Maines’ nine seasons as coach.


“It’s difficult, because the relationship that you build with your athletes, the kids you coach, for me, that’s the most fun in coaching,” Maines said. “It’s the thing that I think is most enduring. This weekend is the Thomas (College) alumni games. I’ve been on the phone with (former players) for three weeks, guys that I coached 15 years ago. Those relationships are the most important to me.

New Cony athletic director T.J. Maines hangs a photo up in his new office on Thursday. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“Now, those relationships will change with the current players. But I’m still going to be there, I’m going to help them with college recruitment. I’m going to help them in any way possible. Help them with college stuff, or work things, in any way that I can, like I do for any of our alums. Now I’m helping more kids in other sports, that’s all.”

First on the to-do list is to fill the now-vacant boys basketball coach job.

“(The position) has been open for over a week, we’re closing in (on a new coach) really, really soon,” Maines said. “We hope to interview in the next week or so and have someone that we can recommend to the school board sooner rather than later.”

One potential candidate for the job is former Cony assistant coach Isaiah Brathwaite, who played for Maines at Thomas College. Messalonskee hired Brathwaite as its boys basketball coach in the spring, but he has since resigned. Messalonskee athletic director Chad Foye said the position is now open again, although he declined to say what led to Brathwaite’s resignation.

“We’ve got to hire someone quick,” Foye said.

A Colby College graduate who played for the legendary Dick Whitmore, Maines is also the son of Maine Basketball Hall of Fame coach Tom Maines, who led the Morse High School boys basketball program to three consecutive Class A titles from 1987-1989. T.J. Maines took over the Cony boys basketball program in 2013, bringing the Rams back to relevance just a year into his tenure with an appearance in the Class A North quarterfinals. Maines led the Rams to an A North regional final appearance in 2020.

While the Cony boys basketball program will have a new coach, so, too, will the girls. John Dennett was hired to take over the Cony girls basketball program in the spring. Dennett has previously coached at the middle school level and the Cony girls junior varsity team. He also once enjoyed a 44-game win streak in 2012.

“I’m happy for John,” Maines said. “He coached at the JV level about nine years ago and has been at the middle school level for the last seven, eight, nine years. Something that he’s always wanted was an opportunity to coach at the varsity level with the girls. I wasn’t part of that process when he was hired last spring. But from what I saw him do this summer, he put time in and he’s worked hard to get the girls better… I hope John has a lot of success and I’m going to do what I can to help him out.”

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