BLUE HILL—Longtime George Stevens Academy baseball coach Dan Kane can now add Maine Baseball Hall of Fame inductee to his list of achievements, which also includes former Ellsworth High School baseball standout and alumni of the University of Maine Black Bear baseball team.
Kane has coached the Eagles baseball team for 28 years, during which time he led his players to appearances in 16 Class C Eastern Maine title games. Of the 16, Kane’s Eagles took home nine Eastern Maine championships and three Class C state titles. This season excluded, Kane’s overall coaching record is 362-136-2.
“I owe a lot to the support of the peninsula communities,” Kane said during an interview in his office at GSA, where he is also a physical education teacher.
“When I took over the program [in 1989] we had some really good athletes, but then it was more about gaining the interest of the community. We wanted to turn the baseball games into an event people could really enjoy and have fun at, and I think over the years we have done that,” he said.
Kane won his first state championship as a coach during the 1989 season, the first time a GSA baseball team had ever taken home a title.
Kane said that much of the success he has had during the years can be credited to the athletes he has gotten the chance to coach.
“You can be the best coach in the world, but if you don’t have the athletes, it doesn’t make much of a difference,” said Kane. “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with these kids through the junior leagues and to have had some really solid players come up through.”
The Little League and junior division programs are instrumental in providing baseball education to the youth on the Peninsula, according to Kane. Those programs, which he has coached in for several years, have played a vital role in the relationships he has with his players once they hit the high school varsity level.
“By the time they get to me [their freshman year] we’ve already formed that contact and a little bit of that bond, so we already have a base to start with,” he said. “We [the coaching staff] expect a lot out of them; we expect them to show up and give it their all every day out, but we also want them to have a blast doing it. So, to be able to sort of instill that mindset from the junior leagues up is pretty important to having cohesion in your team.”
The connection he feels with his players—past and present—is one that is returned, as indicated by the turnout at a reunion held to celebrate his 25th coaching anniversary three years ago.
“That was a blast,” said Kane. “There were about 40 of my former and then present players; we had a pig roast, and I hit to them for fielding practice. It was just another day at the ball field and I loved it.”
As for the Hall of Fame nomination, Kane said he is honored to be a part of it.
“Yeah, it’s really exciting,” he said. “I had the fortunate timing of being coached by some great people who have also been inducted over the years, so to be included in that is a great thing.”
The Maine Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, July 17, at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland.