The University of Maine announced on Wednesday afternoon that women's basketball Head Coach Richard Barron will give full authority of the program to Associate Head Coach Amy Vachon while he continues to deal with his health issues.

In a statement from Barron released on Wednesday, the coach said that his has been dealing with Demyelinating Peripheral Neuropathy and Vestibular Neuritis.  He cited that the health issues have left him with pain and numbness in his legs and arms, along with debilitating migraines.

Barron is in the process of treating his illness, and is optimistic that medication will help, but stated that the process may take a year or longer.  Vachon will assume the coaching duties on an interim basis moving forward and will also head the program for the 2017-18 season.  There is no timetable for a return of Barron in the future.

"Amy stepped up at a difficult time during the 2016-17 season in coach Richard Barron's absence and handled the head coaching duties with poise and confidence," said Director of Athletics Karlton Creech in a statement from UMaine. "As coach Barron takes the time needed to seek improvement for his health, we are once again confident in coach Vachon's ability to successfully lead the program over the next year, and we thank her for her loyalty and service to the University of Maine."

During the press conference held by the school at the Cross Insurance Center on Wednesday afternoon, Creech announced that Vachon would receive the interim tag as Head Coach moving forward and was hopeful that Barron could return in the future.  Creech also said that all coaches on the staff are still under contract until June 1st and would be evaluated by the program moving forward.

Vachon assumed Head Coach duites with the program following UMaine’s conference opener versus Vermont on January 4th.  She helped guide the Black Bears to an 11-7 record during the rest of the season, and had the team in the America East championship in early March, which UMaine would lose to Albany 66-50.

Vachon and Creech from the UMaine press conference // 92.9 Photo
Vachon and Creech from the UMaine press conference // 92.9 Photo

The Black Bears recently granted the release of five players who asked to leave the program following the season.  The players included America East Sixth Player of the Year and second leading scorer Laia Sole, along with forward Anita Kelava who started 15 of the team’s 16 conference regular season games.  The program currently has just seven players committed to the team for next season and Vachon noted that they will not recruit just to fill out the team for the next year.  The transfers of the five players were said to have occurred before any notification to the team that Barron would be away from the program for the 2017-18 season according to Creech.

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