ELLSWORTH — Ellsworth High School named Paul Lock its new varsity boys’ soccer coach Tuesday night.
Lock will replace Brian Higgins, who announced his retirement in the spring. Higgins notched a 566-103-45 record over his 42 years coaching the team.
“Mr. Higgins should be titled the father of Ellsworth soccer,” Lock said. “He has been the one who has made Ellsworth soccer what it is.”
But Lock also has played a role in strengthening the high school program. He has coached the Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School’s varsity boys’ soccer team since 1992. He was a fifth-grade science teacher for the school before retiring two years ago.
“I’ve coached most of the players on the team,” Lock said of the high school squad. “I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to coach the boys at a higher level.”
Lock also played soccer at the collegiate level. He was a goalkeeper for Syracuse University from 1969-1971.
After moving to Ellsworth in 1984, Lock met Higgins a few years later when Lock’s sons got involved in soccer. Higgins coached them in high school.
Lock has worked with Higgins closely over the years during the Bootin’ Eagle summer soccer camps. Lock also has been involved in the Ellsworth Travel Soccer League that’s run through the Down East Family YMCA.
Lock said he has always been interested in a coaching position at the high school level.
“It is a challenge following a legend,” Lock said. “But it’s one I think I will enjoy.”
Lock said Higgins’ coaching success stemmed from his love for working with kids. He recalled a particular example of this when he accompanied Higgins and the players to England. Higgins used to organize and chaperone team trips to Europe every other year.
Lock said that, while the team waited outside for breakfast one morning, he spotted Higgins surrounded by seven or eight local boys, kicking around a soccer ball.
“He was just enjoying his morning with them,” Lock said. “He just liked coaching young men.”
Lock said there are similarities in his and Higgins’ coaching styles.
“We like to encourage the players to enjoy game and feel comfortable going in,” Lock said. “I think Brian will always be there for me to give me pointers.”