ORONO (NEWS CENTER Maine) — Big changes coming for University of Maine basketball.
NEWS CENTER Maine has confirmed Bob Walsh, head coach of Maine men's basketball, has parted ways with the university as of Monday.
NEWS CENTER has also learned the former Maine women's basketball head coach, Richard Barron will be named the men's head coach Monday afternoon.
"For me, these next few weeks are going to be drinking from a fire hose," Barron said, "this is going to be a lot in a short period of time."
UMaine signed Amy Vachon to a four-year contract as head coach of the Black Bears women's team last week. She had served as an interim head coach since Barron took his extended medical leave.
Vachon is a native Mainer. She first caught the attention of basketball fans as a player at Cony High School and the University of Maine.
Former UMaine women's basketball coach Richard Barron took a medical leave from the team January 6, 2017.
Barron took indefinite medical leave on Jan. 6, 2017
"I appreciate the concern people have showed me over the past month," said Barron at the time. "My condition was not improving and the medication had side effects that interfered with coaching effectively. I care deeply for our players and staff and I believe it is in the team's best interest that I take a medical leave. I know our fans will give them their full support."
Barron was in his sixth season as head coach of the Black Bears, compiling an 85-89 record at UMaine. Over his previous six seasons, Barron had guided Maine women to back-to-back America East regular-season championships and a pair of appearances in the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).
Bob Walsh took over the men's program May 9, 2014, and had compiled a 24-100 record.
UMaine released the following statements Monday afternoon from Director of Athletics Karlton Creech and President Susan Hunter:
“The university would like to thank Bob Walsh for his hard work and dedication to the men’s basketball program,” Creech said. “Coach Walsh’s teams achieved academically while showing great toughness and perseverance on the court. We wish him the best moving forward.
“Richard Barron has an impressive track record of success throughout his career,” Creech said. “His skill as a basketball coach is unquestioned. Richard has an incredible basketball IQ, and the ability to share that knowledge through coaching and teaching. Under his leadership, our men’s basketball student-athletes will learn and grow.
“Richard’s previous success as our women’s basketball coach makes him uniquely qualified to understand what it takes to build a program here at UMaine,” Creech said. “We are excited that Richard and his family will remain involved, valuable members of this community.”
“Men’s basketball is an important part of Division I athletics at the University of Maine and in the state,” Hunter said. “We are pleased to see Richard returning to the court and we look forward to where his leadership will take UMaine men’s basketball.”
The University will pay $160,000 to coach.