Zac McDorrI remember watching my cousin Matt Pouliot on TV in the ‘80s. The Morse High basketball team had just won the state championship for the third year in a row, and he was cutting down the basketball net while riding the shoulders of a teammate.

Like most high school athletes, he moved on to other things when he entered the workforce, becoming a Merchant Marine captain.

The star of an earlier generation stuck with basketball. Morse won back-to-back championships in 1962 and 1963, and the big star was Joe Harrington. During the ’62 season, Harrington and the Shipbuilders beat Chevrus 54 – 39 for the Western Maine title, and then beat Bangor for the state championship.

The following year Morse beat Stearns in double overtime for the repeat, despite Harrington riding the bench with foul trouble. He was then named as an All American by Parade Magazine.

Harrington accepted an offer to play basketball at the University of Maryland, and was a starter all four years under head coach Bud Milliken. In 1967, he was drafted in the 11th round by the Boston Celtics.

While Mainers would have loved to see him in a green jersey, his pro career didn’t pan out, partly due to knee problems. Instead, Harrington turned to coaching.

His first head coaching job was at Hofstra, followed by George Mason, Long Beach State, and Colorado. He managed the U.S. national team in the 1990 FIBA world championship. Later, he worked as an assistant coach for the NBA Toronto Raptors. Afterward, he went back to Maryland and served as a director.

Now in his seventies, Harrington recently moved to Northern Virginia to be near his teenage daughter, and accepted a job coaching a high school team. He once traveled on team jets; now he drives his team on a school bus.

It’s all basketball to him.

Sources: “Memories of Morse,” 1979, and Washington Post.

filed under: