Now in his fourth decade as the head coach of the University of Southern Maine baseball team, Ed Flaherty has firmly established USM among the nation’s elite NCAA Division III programs. Flaherty has earned an outstanding reputation for his proven teaching ability, discipline and hard-nosed work ethic. His instructional baseball camps are highly regarded and among the best attended in the New England region.
Under Flaherty’s direction, the Huskies reached the pinnacle of the NCAA Division III baseball world in 1991 when they traveled to Battle Creek, Michigan, and claimed their first national championship. That team was the first collegiate team from the state of Maine to win a national championship. Six years later, the Huskies compiled a then school best 39-9 record en route to capturing the program’s second national title. Among that season’s highlights were an 18-game winning streak, winning the first-ever Little East Conference championship, and hosting the NCAA regional tournament.
The Huskies have made six other World Series appearances. Their first trip came in 1989 when they finished fourth. After winning the national title in 1991, they successfully battled their way through the regional tournament in 1992 for a shot at back-to-back titles, but fell short, finishing seventh. USM made back-to-back trips to the World Series in 2000 and 2001, and again in 2013 and 2014.
“The University of Southern Maine is respected for its strong athletic tradition in several different sports,” said Flaherty. “I’m pleased that our baseball program has been able to carry on, and build upon, that tradition during my career at USM. We take great pride in the fact that Southern Maine has one of the premier baseball programs in our region and the nation.”
In his 32 years as head coach, Flaherty has compiled an impressive 974-435-4 record (.691 W-L percentage), including 16 seasons with 30 or more wins. Twenty-four times during his collegiate coaching career, Flaherty has guided the Huskies into a postseason tournament, including 15 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament (1987-2001). His career winning percentage at the start of the 2018 season ranked him 15th among active NCAA Division III coaches with five or more years of service, and his 974 wins ranked fifth. All-time, Flaherty is ranked 24th in winning percentage and 12th in wins.
Many of his former players have gone on to play professional baseball, including pitcher Mike Welch, who became the first Southern Maine alum to reach the major leagues when the Philadelphia Phillies called him up in 1998.
Last season, Flaherty guided the Huskies to a 34-13 overall record and the Little East Conference regular season title. The Huskies advanced to the NCAA Division III New York Regional tournament making it through to the final game. In 2016, Flaherty led the Huskies to a 29-13 record and a share of the LEC regular season title. In 2015, he managed the team to a 32-15 record and a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament. That came on the heels of a school-record 46-10 season in 2013 and a spot in the NCAA national championship game, and a 37-15 mark and a fourth-place finish at the 2014 World Series.
En route to the 2013 national title game, the Huskies compiled a 19-game winning streak during the regular season, won the Little East Conference regular season and postseason tournament titles for the second straight year, and captured the their seventh NCAA regional title. Three players - Tucker White, Nick Grady and Logan Carman - were named ABCA/Rawlings first team All-Americans, and White was named the Division III Player of the Year. In 2015, Sam Dexter and Andrew Richards were named first team All-Americans, and Dexter was the Division III Player of the Year.
In 2012, Flaherty led Southern Maine to a 27-19 overall record and the Little East Conference regular season and tournament championships. The previous year, the Huskies went 22-19 overall record and a berth in the LEC tournament.
During the four-year span from 2006 to 2009, the Huskies went 131-55, made three appearances in the NCAA regional tournament, advancing to the final round twice, and won the Little East Conference regular season crown in 2009.
In 2005, Flaherty guided the Huskies to a 31-13-1 overall record and a second-place finish in the Little East Conference tournament. The previous season, he led the Huskies to a 28-16 mark and a third-place finish in the LEC championship.
The 2001 season marked the Huskies' fifth straight 30-win season with an impressive 37-14 record. The Huskies won the Little East Conference regular season title and the NCAA New England Regional tournament crown along the way to making the program’s sixth trip to the Division III World Series.
A former standout player at the University of Maine, Flaherty has earned many honors throughout his coaching career. He was named 1991 and 1997 NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), and was voted New England Coach of the Year in 1989, 1990, and 1991. In addition, he has been named Diamond District One Baseball Coach of the Year on eight occasions (1989, 1991, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2009, 2013, 2015). His peers have voted Flaherty the Little East Conference Coach of the Year eight times (1997, 1999, 2001, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015) since 1997.
In January 2005, Flaherty was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Flaherty was inducted along with Gary Adams of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Russ Frazier of Louisburg College (Louisburg, N.C.), Sonny Pittaro of Rider College (Lawrenceville, N.J.), Enos Seymour of the University of Oklahoma and George Valesente of Ithaca College.
The Portland, Maine, native served a one-year term as the president of the American Baseball Coaches Association, and is a past president of the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA). He was just the third small college (Division Two-Three) coach to serve as ABCA president. He also served as an assistant coach for the USA National Baseball Trials in Homestead, Florida, in 1994, and has been a clinician at the ABCA Convention (2005 in Nashville) and this past winter in Ireland .
While at the University of Maine (1972-76), Flaherty received his undergraduate degree in secondary education with a double major in history and math. He received a master’s degree in administration from Southern Maine in 1981.
Flaherty received many honors for his outstanding play while a member of the Black Bears’ baseball program, including selection to the NCAA Division I All-American Baseball Team in 1975. He was a key member of the Black Bears’ College World Series team in 1976, played in the Cape Cod Baseball League and was a member of the Pan American Team in 1976. Flaherty was inducted into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, the State of Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993, the Little East Conference Hall of Fame in 2013, and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. USM paid Coach Flaherty the ultimate compliment when it renamed the baseball field "Ed Flaherty Field" in 2017.
Following his graduation from UMaine, Flaherty accepted teaching and coaching positions at Deering High School in Portland. Flaherty guided the Rams from 1981-1985 and won a state championship in 1983. In addition to coaching the baseball team at Deering, Flaherty also guided the Caldwell Post American Legion team from 1982-1985. Caldwell won the state championship and advanced to regional play in 1982 and 1984.
Flaherty and his wife, Debbie, have three grown children- Regina, Ryan and Regan - and reside in Portland. Ryan was a sandwich-round pick (41st overall) of the Chicago Cubs in 2008 after spending three seasons at Vanderbilt University, and spent the last six seasons (2012-17) as a member of the Baltimore Orioles after being a Rule V draft pick in 2012, and recently signed on with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Flaherty Years
Year W L T Pct. Postseason
1986 23 14 0 .622 ECAC Championship
1987 29 12 0 .707 NCAA Northeast Regional
1988 22 14 0 .611 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional
1989 31 10 0 .756 NCAA Northeast Regional *; NCAA College World Series
1990 26 10 0 .722 NCAA Northeast Regional
1991 38 6 0 .864 NCAA Northeast Regional *; NCAA College World Series *
1992 30 11 0 .732 NCAA New England Regional *; NCAA College World Series
1993 27 12 0 .692 NCAA New England Regional
1994 27 11 0 .710 NCAA New England Regional
1995 25 18 0 .581 ECAC Championship *; NCAA New England Regional
1996 27 11 1 .705 NCAA New England Regional
1997 39 9 0 .813 NCAA New England Regional *; NCAA College World Series*
1998 30 18 0 .625 NCAA New England Regional
1999 36 13 0 .735 NCAA New England Regional
2000 35 14 0 .714 NCAA New England Regional *; NCAA College World Series
2001 37 14 0 .725 NCAA New England Regional *; NCAA College World Series
2002 28 15 1 .648
2003 28 16 0 .636
2004 31 13 1 .700
2005 25 14 0 .641
2006 32 17 0 .653 NCAA New England Regional
2007 27 15 0 .643
2008 36 14 0 .720 NCAA New England Regional
2009 36 9 0 .800 NCAA New England Regional
2010 22 21 1 .511
2011 22 19 0 .537
2012 27 19 0 .587 NCAA New England Regional
2013 46 10 0 .821 NCAA New England Regional *; NCAA College World Series
2014 37 15 0 .712 NCAA New England Regional *; NCAA College Word Series
2015 32 15 0 .681 NCAA New England Regional
2016 29 13 0 .690
2017 34 13 0 .723 NCAA New York Regional
Total 974 435 4 .691
* = Champions