Gary Fifield came to Gorham in 1987 succeeding legendary head coach Richard "Doc" Costello and quickly established himself as one of the premier women's college basketball coaches in the nation. During his 25 seasons with the Huskies, Fifield, the 2005 Russell Athletic/WBCA Division III National Coach of the Year, fortified the strong tradition of winning that is synonymous with University of Southern Maine women's basketball.
Over the course of 26 seasons, Fifield guided USM to a combined 648-123 record (.840 winning percentage). Fifield and the Huskies' impressive win total is even more staggering when one considers Southern Maine's 21 shared or outright Little East Conference regular season titles, 20 LEC tournament championships, including a string of 11 tournament crowns dating back to the 1996-1997 season and his team's consistent appearance in postseason play during his tenure. Fifield's teams were consistently successful and advanced to postseason play every year that he was the head coach - a tradition for USM that began 30 years ago in 1976.
Among his litany of awards, Fifield received the top honor a coach can achieve during a career when he was selected as the 2005 Russell Athletic/WBCA Division III National Coach of the Year. The veteran coach garnered the accolade after leading his team to a school record 31-3 overall mark, including an unblemished 14-0 regular season record in the LEC, the team's ninth consecutive LEC tournament championship and their fourth of five appearances in the NCAA Division III "Final Four."
In 2003, Fifield was indcuted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and most recently in 2013 , Fifield was inducted into the inaugural class of the Little East Conference Hall of Fame and into the Maine State Sports Hall of Fame.
Fifield's awards include being named the WBCA District I Coach of the Year five times (1992, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2006). Fifield earned the 1998 honor after leading his team to a 29-3 overall record and a spot in the NCAA Division III National Championship game. In 2003, Fifield was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. And his dominance against his Little East Conference opponents was recognized as he earned or shared the Little East Conference Coach of the Year award 14 times. Fifield was most recently named the Little East Conference Coach of the Year following the Huskies' 2012-2013 season, after the Huskies earned both the LEC regular season and tournament titles finishing the season with a 27-2 record and a 13-1 mark against conference opponents.
Fifield earned his 500th career victory on January 9, 2007, with a 75-63 win over Rhode Island College. His milestone mark came just three years, one month and 14 days after his 400th career win that was claimed when the Huskies defeated Bates College 84-61 on Nov. 25, 2003. Since his 400th career victory Southern Maine continued to roll and post impressive win totals. During the 2006-07 season, Fifield and the Huskies added to their records, extending their NCAA Division III record with their 27th consecutive season of 20-or-more wins. USM began its record-setting march under former coach Richard “Doc” Costello during the 1980-81 season.
During the 2004-2005 campaign, USM also set a new school record for consecutive wins earning 28 victories in a row, beginning December 4, 2004 and ending with a loss to the eventual national champion, Millikin, on March 18, 2005, at the Final Four. The 2005-06 Huskies continued the USM tradition of excellence, posting the program's best ever finish with a 32-2 mark, a Little East Conference championship and Southern Maine's fifth trip to the NCAA Final Four and third appearance in the National Championship game.
During his 26 seasons, Fifield has had ten different players receive All-American or honorable mention All-American honors on 14 occasions. Fifield's players have also distinguished themselves academically. Most recently, two-time WBCA All-American Ashley Marble was named the ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year for the College Division and a first team Academic All-American.
Fifield further distinguished himself with his selection as an assistant coach for the West team at the 1993 Olympic Festival in San Antonio. He was the lone Division III women's coach selected to participate.
A 1975 graduate of the University of Vermont with a B.S. in physical education, Fifield earned a master's degree in educational administration from Vermont in 1982. Fifield, and his wife, Mary, have one son and reside in Buxton, Maine.
|Title:||Women's Basketball Assistant Coach|
Former University of Maine Black Bears guard and Gorham High School standout Rachele Burns will join the University of Southern Maine Huskies' women's basketball staff for the 2014-2015 season.
Burns graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maine in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Physical Education with a Health concentration and an Outdoor Education minor.
A member of the Black Bears' women's basketball team for five years under coach Richard Barron, Burns had the opportunity to spend the 2012-2013 season as a student assistant under Barron's direction while recovering from a season-ending injury. During her time as a Black Bears' student-assistant coach, Burns was involved with recruiting, travel arrangements, scouting report preparation, planning practice and fundraising.
In Burns’ final season with the Black Bears she appeared in 11 games and her team had a 17-15 finish, falling in the quarterfinals of the America East tournament. The University of Maine earned a spot in the postseason Women’s Basketball Invitational and beat Bucknell in the first round before falling to Fairfield in the second round.
|Title:||Women's Basketball Assistant Coach|
Most recently the Director of Basketball Operations at Division I University of Vermont Catamounts, Sam Allen will join the University of Southern Maine Huskies' women's basketball coaching staff beginning the 2014-2015 season.
A native of Bridgton, Maine, Allen was a member of the Catamounts coaching staff for two seasons. Prior to her time with the Catamounts, Allen spent a pair of seasons at Division III Smith College as a graduate assistant coach, where she was a part of elevating the .500 Pioneer basketball program to one of the top programs in New England.
In Allen’s first year as an assistant, the Pioneers competed in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship and received a bid to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament for the first time in program history. The following season, the Pioneers continued to make history by winning the 2012 ECAC New England championship with a 23-6 record.
Allen, a former finalist for the Miss Maine Basketball honor as a player at Lake Region High School, started her collegiate career at Division II Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H. After two seasons with the Penmen, she transferred to Division III Colby College. Allen captained the Colby team that earned the program's first-ever national ranking and NCAA Tournament bid in 2009-10. That same year, Allen ranked among the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) leaders in three-point shooting.
Allen earned her bachelor's degree in administrative science from Colby in 2010 and a master's of science in exercise and sport studies from Smith in 2012. In January 2014, Allen was inducted into the Lake Region High School Hall of Fame.