Media Archive

Two area longtime coaches resign position

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 164, No. 16, April 17, 2002

By Ben Bragdon
Staff Writer

Two of the areas longest serving high school coaches stepped down from their positions this week.

George Rolleston, who has led the outdoor track and field team at Foxcroft Academy for 20 years, and Wally Russell, coach of the Penquis girls basketball team for the past eight years, both resigned from their respective head coaching spots.

Rolleston, who has also coached the indoor track and field team for 13 years and the cross country for the last nine years, is stepping down due to unspecified health problems, according to reports. Rolleston will continue to teach at the school. The team is being coached by assistant Cori Knight, Foxcroft alumnus Sunshine Weinrich Mechtenberg, and volunteer Chris Almy while the school searches for a permanent replacement.

Russell, who has been a varsity basketball coach for a total of 16 seasons, says he wants to take a break from coaching following the high school graduation of his youngest daughter Penquis standout Megan Russell.

With Megan attending the University of Maine in Orono in the fall, Russell will have three daughters out of the house, including one who lives in Florida. He says he would like to have the free time to visit them when possible.

Coaching now requires a constant commitment, said Russell, and everything else gets sets aside. "

"It's a year-round job now. It's not like the old days when you just coached during the season. 'You have open gyms in the offseason, and you have summer games. Last summer we played 25-30 games and had 30 practices," said Russell.

Russell stresses that he is not retiring from basketball. He wants to take at least a year off to spend time with his family, and maybe get in the gym himself and get into shape.

He says that it is possible that he may be around basketball this winter.

"I wouldn't be surprised if I did something with young kids," said Russell.

Russell, a former standout player at both Penquis and the University of Maine, led Penquis to a combined 126-34 record over his eight years as coach. The Patriots finished as Eastern Maine runners-up in 1997 and 2002, finishing with an outstanding 19-3 record last year.

He has also coached boys basketball at Penquis, PCHS in Guilford, and Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.