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Report: Richard Barron, former Maine women’s coach, to take over men’s program

He had stepped away from his previous job for health reasons last season.

NCAA Basketball: Maine at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Barron will be the next coach of the Maine men’s basketball program, according to a report by local radio personality Rich Kimball. This was confirmed by Jon Rothstein.

Barron takes over for Bob Walsh, who compiled a 24-100 record over his four years in charge of the program. The hire is particularly interesting, as Barron was the coach of the Maine women’s program beginning in 2011, until stepping down during the middle of the 2017 season due to health reasons. Over that time, he was named the 2015 America East Coach of the Year, and and won two regular season titles. He was replaced by Amy Vachon.

He underwent a procedure called a craniotomy in July 2017 to repair a “pin-sized hole just below the brain.”

In December, he returned from medical leave to take a position as a special assistant to Maine athletic director Karlton Creech. He talked about the possibility of one day returning to the sideline at that time.

Barron isn’t sure about his future and hasn’t ruled out a return to coaching but he said he will cross that bridge when he comes to it.

“We haven’t gotten that far yet. We will have to discuss it at some point. We’ll see how things are going,” he said. “I have found ways to do some other coaching. I’ve had an opportunity to mentor some college coaches and to coach my son’s (Billy) travel basketball team. It has been fun.

“I definitely miss the games and the practices and all of that but I’m also thrilled with the job Amy is doing as well as the staff and the players,” said Barron. “I’m their biggest fan. There’s no reason for me to go in and disrupt what they’re doing.

It turns out he will return to coaching without disrupting his former team, as he takes over a men’s program that has never appeared in the NCAA Tournament. The Black Bears have had just one winning season since 2005.

Maine was hit heavy by transfers during Walsh’s tenure, including losing Wesley Myers to South Carolina this past offseason, and then-promising freshman Devine Eke to Rider following the 2015-16 season. The Black Bears’ season ended on Saturday, after they put a first half scare into Vermont in what would ultimately be a 15-point loss in the AE Tournament.