Former assistant coach Red Gendron returned to the school in 2013 to take the head coaching job with the program, and in the process, brought in a new regime to Orono. While the recruiting process would ultimately begin immediately, he took over groups of players that he largely did not bring to Maine on his own.
That's not to say they weren't embraced as his own, of course.
"First of all, let me say this," he said Thursday. "They're my guys. Our staff has brought them in. But at no time did we make the other players feel like they were somebody else's guys. And I think that's pretty important."
While several players like Devin Shore, Blaine Byron, Cam Brown and others would see individual success, the Black Bears largely struggled. But this year will mark the first where all four classes were brought to campus by Gendron and his staff, an opportunity to have their own system fully put in place. That gives Maine an opportunity to not reflect, but instead, look forward to 2017-2018.
"Whatever struggles we've had, I don't attribute it to players that were here in the past," Gendron said. "I attribute it to, it's my responsibility to make sure whoever's here, we play effectively."
The Black Bears open up the season Sunday with an exhibition against Acadia.