May 6, 2013

Saucier Resigns as Baseball Coach

(PRESQUE ISLE, ME) -- University of Maine-Presque Isle baseball coach Leo Saucier has stepped down from the position he has held for the past six seasons.  Saucier's Owls just completed its 2013 campaign with four wins over the weekend vs. Eastern Maine Community College to end with a 16-23 record.

The 16 wins tops the previous program record for victories in a season held by Saucier's 2009 team (14).

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as head coach of UMPI baseball," said Saucier, "I hope the program continues to grow."

Since returning to the dugout in 2008 (he was also head coach of the team from 2002-04 before stepping away a first time), Saucier has been the heart and soul of baseball in northern Maine.  Equal parts fundraiser, promoter, and recruiter, he did what was needed to bring in student-athletes and provide them a positive baseball experience.

From selling concessions at athletic events to running summer basketball leagues to holding fundraising auctions and spaghetti dinners, Saucier became a master a fundraising for his program, raising the money necessary for equipment, uniforms, and to take the team to warmer climates in the spring.

Saucier's teams received notoriety in 2009 when New York Times writer Bill Pennington spent time with the squad and wrote a story highlighting the fact that the team had not played a home game in nearly four years.  Leo and the team were also interviewed by ESPN while on one of their many long road trips.

Despite the weather, the road games, and the practices in Wieden Gym (sometimes through April), anyone looking at the baseball team's roster page cannot help but to notice two things:  the program has more student-athletes than any of the other 11 UMPI athletic teams and with players from Canada, California, Texas, and Venezuela, there is no stone that Saucier left unturned when searching for the right student-athlete to come up and join the Owls.

"I am saddened that Leo has chosen to step down from the team that he has lead for nine years," said Presque Isle interim-Athletic Director Paul Stone.  "He has done a great deal to improve the student-athlete experience for his players during his second, six-year stint, as the Head Baseball Coach here at UMPI.  Through hard work and dedication he has grown the roster each year, improving the talent and quality of play annually.  I understand the stress of working two full time jobs and I am glad the university isn't losing him as a professor as well as a baseball coach."

A native of Millinocket (Stearns H.S., 1980), Saucier returned to Maine in 2000 to take a teaching position at UMaine-Presque Isle (he will remain a full-time faculty member in the College of  Education) and assist with coaching the baseball team.  By the following year he was hired as the head coach.  

"I am so happy to be back coaching, but first and foremost I am a teacher," Saucier said at the time, "the most important job I have is to help train successful teachers of physical education." 

A search for a new coach will begin immediately.