Posted by Dick Hall
Ed Flaherty – USM Head Baseball Coach. Ed said he appreciated the kind introduction he was given, but does like to be compared to Bill Belichick or Tom Brady because “I always do things above board.” Ed told us that life with Al Bean and Dick Costello has been great for the last 35 years. “How long will I stay here? Why not get out?” He told us it was because of the youth, who make him stay young. “The boys are way better than they were in 1986. They learn how to compete and work together. They are polite, inquisitive and want to learn. It keeps me going.” Responding to questions:  1. He does not agree with the new CA law which will allow NCAA college athletes to be paid; 2. He believes that boys should play 2 or 3 sports in high school; 3. 90% of USM recruits are from Maine.

Al Bean – USM Director of Athletics. Al told us that USM is a Division 3 program with no scholarships for athletics and includes strong service to the community. USM promotes education first and sports second. The overall GPA is 3.09 for those in the sports program now and the graduation retention is higher than the student body as a whole. Al says that too many things are done in national sports which hurt the program, such as ‘taking a knee.’ Marijuana is still banned by the NCAA. NCAA does not allow players to be paid, but NCAA is driven by $8.8 billion in annual contracts. Now there are football facilities being constructed for $15 million, solely for the use of the team; this is not good. Al feels it’s tragic that kids specialize in one sport at 12 years old, as he feels it is better to play multiple sports. He has seen kids burned out early, so they no longer want to play in high school. Concussion concerns have also impacted the sport. Responding to questions:  1. The move to change the name to UMaine Portland is led by the USM president with solid research to show it will improve recruiting, but there are many people who are not happy about it; 2. There are many clubs at USM to allow students to pursue alternate sports.  If 10 people want to pursue a sport, USM will supply at least some support; 3.  The NCAA or some other structure is needed. Some high-level schools may drop out of the NCAA, but then the NCAA will just be replaced by some other structure;  4. Al does not think it is a good idea for school to choose the division for each sport. This would kill Division 3, for any sport except the top 3 or 4.
(Photo L-R: President Amy Chipman, David Small and Al Bean.)