Augusta’s mentor, youth coach and basketball fan Ed Coffin dies

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Basketball fan and former coach Ed Coffin, left, had his favorite seat commemorated with a yellow paint job and a personalized plaque which was unveiled by center director Earl Kingsbury on February 14, 2019 at the Augusta Civic Center . Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal dossier

AUGUSTA – Ed Coffin was a spirited man who served two terms on city council and founded the successful Augusta company of ES Coffin Engineering & Surveying.

But it was probably none of those parts of his life where Coffin, who died on September 19, had the biggest impact.

As a youth basketball, baseball and softball coach, and a founding member of the volunteer group that founded the Capital Area Recreation Association, which oversees many youth sports fields in Augusta, Coffin was an inspiring figure in the lives of hundreds of Augusta children. .

Basketball fan and former coach Ed Coffin speaks during an interview on February 14, 2019 at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan / Kennebec newspaper file

“Ed Coffin was enthusiastic, eager to compete, to win, eager to connect with young players to open them up to the possibilities of what commitment and hard work could bring,” said Augusta Mayor David Rollins , who served with Coffin on the city council. and had him as a coach of the St. Mary’s basketball team in eighth grade. “He was an iconic figure and was part of the personality of the city of Augusta.”

Coffin, 89, died at his home in Cony Road after what family members described as a valiant battle with cancer.

In 1973, Coffin, who worked as a resident engineer for the State of Maine where he designed bridge structures and created computer software, left the state to found Coffin Engineering & Surveying, a company which is today run by his sons, James and Kane.

The company grew and, according to its obituary, invested in computers and was one of the industry’s earliest users of color in its project designs. He was also involved in Coffin Advanced Technologies, a company that created software for surveyors.

He coached youth basketball for decades and also served as a basketball referee, remaining involved in the sport he loved until the age of 72.

He also coached youth baseball and softball in Augusta and provided ongoing technical, design and engineering services as a volunteer with CARA, whose volunteers oversee a large complex of youth athletic fields along from Piggery Road, between Hospital Street and Cony Road in Augusta.

Hundreds of young people from Augusta have performed for him over the years.

“When you go through life you want to make a difference, and most people would be happy to do that in the life of one or two people,” said Earl Kingsbury, director of community services for the City of Augusta who , until recently, oversaw the operations of the Augusta Civic Center, which hosts high school basketball tournaments each year. “Ed’s coaching and his nature have made a difference in the lives of hundreds of people. “

Kingsbury and others have said Coffin, a huge high school basketball fan, rarely misses a game at the Civic Center.

The favorite seat of basketball fan and former coach Ed Coffin is commemorated with a yellow paint job and a personalized plaque that was unveiled on February 14, 2019 at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal dossier

He was such a pillar that he has his own dedicated seat, painted bright yellow because Coffin usually wore a bright yellow coat. And there is a nameplate that says “Coach Coffin”. Kingsbury said he believed the yellow seat, the only one of that color in the auditorium, and the nameplate would remain in place in Coffin’s honor.

Officials dedicated the seat to him because, Kingsbury said, he was a basketball legend in the state and always sat in that seat, Section 17, Row H, Seat 17, one seat from the aisle .

When the seat was dedicated to him, Coffin said he liked the place in part because it was above the ledge. The seat has a view of the baseline of the basketball court at the north end of the arena.

“He thought it gave him the perfect angle to see every aspect of what was going on,” Kingsbury said.

Ed Coffin, seen in December 2009 outside his company, died Sunday, September 19. He was a longtime coach and former Augusta city councilor. Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal dossier

Kingsbury said that when he and his wife moved to Augusta 33 years ago they had no family there, and Coffin and his wife, May Ross Coffin, treated them like family, spending the Christmas Eve together for many years.

Coffin joked with a reporter that he quit serving on Augusta city council – he had not run for a third term after serving from 2006 to 2011 – because it interfered with participation in tournaments basketball annuals.

Rollins said that when he and Coffin were on the board, they spent many mornings with Julie and Mark O’Brien, Coffin’s daughter and son-in-law, who are also active in local politics, “where we held events. political round tables and thought to solve the world’s problems.

In 2006, Coffin received the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award. He served as president of the Maine Land Surveyors and was Maine Surveyor of the Year in 1999. And he was a published author and researcher, with works including “The Early Freeport Settlers”, and also created maps of the land. historic times of his native Freeport as well as Pownal and Harpswell.

“He lived a full and rich life,” Rollins said. “Ed was a great man and was really loved by a lot of people, and a lot of young people fondly remembered him.”


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