BOOTHBAY HARBOR,Maine(NEWS CENTER) -- One of Maine's most respected high school basketball coaches could use some help from Maine people. Coach I.J. Pinkham, who's been coaching the Boothbay Region High School Seahawks for 37 years, is in the running to be named Best Coach in the Country by USA Today.

Pinkham says he was contacted more than a month ago by the national newspaper (which is owned by the same company that owns our TV station), and told he was one of 300 coaches around the country chosen for an online survey. Pinkham was the top vote-getter in Maine, and then won a regional runoff. He is now one of eight national finalists for the honor.
Students, teachers and people in the Boothbay region community are all praising Coach Pinkham, saying he has been inspiring generations of students in the classroom and on the court .He is also a math teacher. They also point to his coaching record, winning five Western Maine titles and one state championship.

Pinkham himself is more modest, saying his goal has always been to teach kids to play the game well, show respect for teammates and opponents and learn some skills to help them in life. He admits he did go on line and vote for himself, but only once. He says ,"I remember my parents telling me that you shouldn't vote for yourself."

The deadline for online voting is Friday. Go to the USA Today survey and vote:

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