Jun. 8—Elgin Physic, a former high school and college assistant and AAU head coach, has been named the varsity boys basketball head coach at Lewiston High School, after getting approval from the Lewiston School Committee at its meeting Monday night.
Physic was a member of the school committee, but he resigned during Monday’s meeting, prior to the approval.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity,” Physic said. “I’ve been doing a lot of coaching in the area for 10 years now, and the current group that I have, I’ve coached a lot of those kids since sixth grade, some seventh and eighth. So it gives me a good chance to actually coach them during a regular basketball season. And also … I’ve always been a community guy, and just to be able to work with those guys also off the court more and just be a strong role model in their lives, to continue that work going on, it’s even better for me, more special to me.”
Besides his work with area players in AAU and also the Lewiston rec program, Physic was an assistant boys coach at Edward Little for four years, followed by a year with the Central Maine Community College men’s team before the coronavirus pandemic wiped out the Mustangs’ season last year.
“I think he has a track record working with kids in basketball at the AAU level, and also with his work over at Edward Little when he was coaching there,” Lewiston athletic director Jason Fuller said. “He’s a Lewiston guy. He really believes in the community, the kids, and has a lot of connections within the community for the other things he’s done. I just think he’s a good fit to understand where our kids are coming from and being able to take them to the next level.”
Physic takes over for Ronnie Turner, who coached the Blue Devils for two seasons before departing for an assistant coaching job at Bates College in March.
“I think Ronnie built a lot of the program on the idea of family and everybody’s in this together. Many of these kids have already played for Elgin at the AAU and youth levels, so they feel natural with him,” Fuller said. “I think that sense of family will continue because they all know Elgin so well and they’ve worked with him so long.”
Physic said he wants to base his program on core values, including “character, integrity, being respectful and all those things that these kids are going to need when they leave high school and mature into their adult lives.”
Physic said that, considering the players already on the Blue Devils’ roster, he expects to play an up-and-down style. He also wants to implement some of the side-to-side ball movement in the half-court offense that he learned from Edward Little coach Mike Adams.
He’s already looking forward to his first Lewiston-EL matchup against Adams.
“I look forward to it, almost like me the student versus him the teacher, just because I think the world of Coach Adams. For where I’m at now, I really owe him because he’s taught me a lot about how to run a program, how to get the most out of kids. So I look forward to it,” Physic said. “We would always say, ‘There’s nothing like a Lewiston-EL matchup,’ just on this go-around I’ll be on the other side.”
Fuller thinks Physic’s time spent with Adams, as well as longtime CMCC coach Dave Gonyea, will be an asset for the Devils’ new head coach.
“He has people he can go to, when he’s faced with a situation maybe he doesn’t know, or wants some advice with, he’s got people he can go to and talk with. And he’s experienced it with those other coaches,” Fuller said. “When you look at Mike and Dave, they’re two great coaches, they understand the game, and Elgin’s a sponge — he’s going to grab it all and learn as much as possible. So I feel very fortunate that we were able to get a person with his background and energy that really wants to take the program to the next step.”
Physic is also looking farther into the future with hopes of getting “everybody on the same page in the system,” meaning creating a system from the high school program on down to the middle school and youth rec programs.
“I think Elgin has good ideas around the youth programs, and I think he can really take us to the next step,” Fuller said. “I think we’re up-and-coming, and I really think this is a program that can make a little bit of a run here the next couple years.”