First year men’s basketball head coach Richard Barron announced his first assistant coaching staff on Friday, March 30. Joining Barron on the staff for 2018-19 campaign will be assistant coaches, Kevin Reed, Edniesha Curry and Igor Vrzina. Jason Coleman will fill the role of director of basketball operations in the upcoming season. All will officially begin their appointments on April 1, 2018.
“In choosing a staff, I felt it was very important to hire people who love Maine, our university and our community,” said Barron. “I wanted people who understand our challenges and the opportunities that we have here to build a successful program. I also wanted people who would be comfortable working for me and could relate well to our student-athletes. And finally, I looked for coaches who bring strong recruiting connections and a track record of player development. I am very proud of the staff we have assembled and look forward to working together to build upon the hard work of those that have come before us.”
Reed, a former standout student-athlete on the UMaine men’s basketball team, ranks fourth all-time in school history with 1,601 career points, eighth in career rebounds (732) and third in steals (225). He holds the Black Bear record for career games played (119) and was honored by the America East all four of his seasons as a Black Bear. Reed returns to UMaine after serving as the athletic director and head coach of the boys’ basketball team at Bangor Christian. He graduated from UMaine in 2007 with a bachelor of science degree in human development and family relations.
“Words cannot express how excited I am to return to the University of Maine in this capacity,” said Reed. “I love the vision Coach Barron has for the future of the program and I’m overjoyed to play a role in seeing it come to fruition. I’m confident that my past experience as a student-athlete, professional athlete, coach, and administrator have prepared me for this opportunity. I look forward to helping impact the same program that has greatly impacted me.”
Barron on Reed: “Kevin Reed is an excellent coach but an even better person. Everyone loved Kevin as a player here at Maine and since his return to Bangor eight years ago, he has ingratiated himself again in our community. Kevin and his family have become fixtures on the basketball scene in Maine and he will be a tremendous role model for our players. His ability to do skill work with our guards, scout opponents, his international and prep-school connections, his experience as an athletic administrator, and experience here as a player will all serve our program and our players well.”
Curry joins the Black Bears as the only current woman serving as a full-time assistant coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball. She heads back to Orono after working with the NBA Assistant Coaches Program and as a women’s athletic program manager at Atlanta Classical Academy. With the NBA ACP, she gained experience working at the NBA Draft Combine and the NBA G League Showcase which included player development and scouting duties. Curry previously served at UMaine as an assistant basketball player development coach for the women’s basketball under Barron from July 2015 to May 2017. A graduate of the University of Oregon in 2002, Curry was drafted by the Charlotte Sting with the 41st overall pick in the WNBA draft. She played in the WNBA and overseas from 2002 to 2009. Curry earned an MBA in 2006 from American InterContinental University in 2006.
“I am really blessed to have the opportunity to work the sidelines with Coach Barron,” said Curry. “He has always believed in my abilities as a coach and I am grateful for him bringing me back to UMaine to coach alongside him with the men’s basketball program.”
Barron on Curry: “Eddie was an easy choice as an assistant coach. She is extremely talented at developing players – especially within the context of defensive and offensive systems. Eddie teaches skills that can be utilized with frequency in a game. Eddie is also great at scouting opponents as well as “self-scouts” – breaking down video to find areas of improvement. She knows Maine, knows many of our players, and knows me and my style of play. She has great connections around the world from her extensive playing and coaching background. Our players will be very fortunate to have someone as gifted and enthusiastic as Eddie coaching them.”
In four seasons as the head boys basketball coach at Lee Academy in Lee, Maine, Vrzina joins the Black Bear staff with an impressive record of 98-51 at the helm of the Pandas. Before coming to the Pine Tree State, he served as an assistant coach for BC Grifoni in Ukraine and as an administrative assistant for the Illinois State University men’s basketball team. Vrzina reunites with several of his former players in Miks Antoms, Dusan Majstorovic, Ilija Stojiljkovic, and Lewis Wang who all attended Lee Academy before coming to UMaine. Vrzina graduated from Abilene Christian University in 2007 with a bachelor of science degree in international studies. He was a captain for the Wildcats’ men’s basketball team in the 2006-07 season.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to work with Coach Barron and the UMaine men’s basketball program,” said Vrzina. “After several years of coaching at Lee Academy Prep, I am excited to be back in Maine. I have built relationships nationally and internationally and I am hoping to help build a successful team.”
Barron on Vrzina: “Igor is an accomplished player and coach who brought many talented players to the state of Maine during his tenure at Lee Academy – some of whom wear a Black Bear uniform today. Igor has tremendous recruiting ties throughout New England from his prep school experience, as well as internationally. Igor will work primarily with our posts while assisting with scouting and game planning. He has a great feel for our program and will articulate well the opportunities UMaine offers. He and his family loved living in Maine and are excited to return.”
Coleman, the former Orono High School boys’ basketball coach, joins the staff as the director of basketball operations. Holding basketball and football coaching experience at the collegiate, high school, AAU and middle school levels since 2005, Coleman has immersed himself in the local sports scene in the Greater Bangor area. As the head coach at Orono since 2011, Coleman led the Red Riots to three finals appearances over seven seasons. As an AAU coach, he guided his teams in Maine to three state championships, while also coaching teams in Indiana and South Carolina to multiple state titles. Coleman also coached football at various levels, serving as the offensive coordinator of the JV team at Husson University and as the quarterbacks coach for the varsity team in the 2011 season. At Orono high school, he had served as the offensive coordinator since 2014.
“I am very excited to be joining the University of Maine athletics family,” said Coleman. “I am very grateful to Capt. Jim Settele and Coach Barron for this terrific opportunity, one that I am extremely excited about. I have known Coach Barron for many years now and I look forward to working alongside him and contribute to the building of the men’s program. Maine is an outstanding place to raise a family and we are excited to stay in Orono and take this next step in my career.”
Barron on Coleman: “Jason has been coaching basketball since he was 18 years old. He too loves Maine, loves the great tradition of basketball in our state, and knows many of the coaches and players. Jason will serve as our Director of Basketball Operations and will coordinate our recruiting efforts on-campus and direct our summer camps. Jason and his family will be great additions to our department and I know he will be an invaluable asset to me.”
Overall, Barron is thrilled with his staff and excited for the future of the men’s basketball program.
“I am very excited about this staff,” Barron added. “I know that, together, we can do some wonderful things here at UMaine.”