Margaretville alumnus Max Mead named Coach of the Year in Mid-Hudson Athletic League

By Julia Green
Margaretville graduate and Ellenville boys’ head soccer coach Max Mead was named the Mid-Hudson Athletic League Coach of the Year at the close of the fall season. The Ellenville boys finished the season with a 7-11 record and advanced to the sectional semifinals after winning their first sectional game since 1990 and their first sectional game in Class B competition. They also won the Nelson Tournament, held in Fleischmanns, the past two years.
“Last year was the first time we’ve made sectionals since 1991,” he said. “We play in a very competitive league. Most schools we play have feeder programs or clubs in the area, but we’re just far enough and in an area where it’s too far for our kids to travel. But we have great athletes in Ellenville, and we’ve had a good group of kids these past couple years, so it’s been easy and fun.
“I was happy with this year,” he added. “We gave a few games away that we probably should have won, but that’s a learning process. It’s a learning curve. We had a young team this year, and I think we’ll win those games next year.”
The Coach of the Year honor came following the end-of-season meeting, at which all the league coaches voted for the award recipient.
“It was a surprise mostly, because there were three teams in our league that had great seasons, and I figured most people would be voting for one of those guys. I voted for one of them. I was just happy to have been nominated.”
Mead says his coaching philosophy focuses on the value of communication and a hands-on approach.
“I think communication is important,” he said. “We say we’re a family – that’s how we treat it. Relationships are important between me and the players and between the players themselves.”
He added that he also pulls from the coaches for whom he has played as well as those with whom he has worked and interacted at coaching conferences.
“I pull a lot from Mr. Palen,” he said, referencing former MCS Head Coach Pete Palen, “in terms of game prep and speeches. I’m still getting something out of that. And my college assistant coach, in terms of the hands-on approach.”
This season marked Mead’s third year at Ellenville. In 2005, he served as an assistant coach at Margaretville Central School under Head Coach Gregg Johns. A 1999 graduate of MCS, Mead went on to play for a time at SUNY Cortland. He substitute taught at Margaretville and other area schools and worked as a long-term sub at Andes Central School before winding up at Ellenville. In addition to coaching at Ellenville, Mead also teaches middle school health and physical education.
“I really enjoy the teaching,” he said. “And high school is fun; it’s a good age to work with. I’ve got a good thing going there. I’m happy at Ellenville.”