When she was a valuable role player at the University of Maine, Katie Clark helped the Bears earn four NCAA Tournaments berths.
Clark, now Katie Herbine, hopes to bring that success to her high school alma mater after being named the girls basketball coach at Bangor High School at a school board meeting Wednesday night.
She replaces her former coach, Tom Tennett, who stepped down after 25 years.
In addition to Herbine’s selection, Denis Collins was named the boys hockey coach.
Collins will take over for Ted Taylor, who led the Rams to a 64-39-2 record in his five seasons behind the bench before resigning.
Taylor led the Rams to one Eastern Maine Class A championship game appearance and three semifinal berths.
Herbine and Collins were both the head JV coaches in their respective sports this past winter.
“I’m very excited about it,” said the 31-year-old Herbine, a lawyer who is an associate athletic director for compliance and the senior women’s administrator at the University of Maine.
“It’s a great opportunity for me. It’s great to get back into the community. I know the place well,” she said.
Collins was equally enthusiastic about his appointment.
“It’s exciting to be coaching at the high school level,” said Collins, who coached the Maine Freeze to the State Bantam (ages 13-14) championship this past season and a berth in the national tournament in Wayne, N.J.
“It’s quite an honor.”
The 49-year-old Collins, a native of Frenchville, has been coaching hockey for 11 years including the past three seasons with the Freeze at the Bantam level.
Herbine, who also coached the Bangor girls in summer league basketball, will be hoping to return the Rams to prominence after two seasons in which they failed to qualify for the Eastern Maine Class A Tournament.
Bangor was 10th in the final Heal Points standings this past season with a 10-8 record after going 6-12 in 2008-2009 and finishing 13th.
Bangor has not played in an Eastern Maine championship game since 1999.
“This is an opportunity to establish Bangor basketball to where it has been in the past,” said Herbine.
“There’s a lot of talent. We’re going to fast break and play man-to-man defense. The best way to teach defense is man-to-man. Our kids will certainly be in shape,” said Herbine.
She will also insist upon a consistent work ethic and plans to “make it fun so the kids want to be here.”
Collins said he intends to focus on fundamentals and skill development and prefers a European style of hockey to the more physical North American style.
“I’ve learned that [style] from Kent Salfi,” said Collins who has worked at a hockey clinic with Salfi the past eight years.
Salfi was an important role player on the University of Maine’s 1992-93 national championship team who has had a long and impressive pro career in Europe.
“We’re going to use more long passes and bring more speed and skill to the game. I’ll have a lot of tricks up my sleeve. We may have each line use a different forecheck,” said Collins.
“We’ll have good communication and motivation.”
Collins said he learned a lot from working with Taylor and his staff this past season and intends to make sure the players are paying attention to academics as well as hockey.
Bangor athletic director Steve Vanidestine was pleased that the school board approved Herbine and Collins.
“Katie is an excellent role model,” said Vanidestine. “She is a proven winner and this gives her an opportunity to use her own academic and athletic success to mold our student-athletes.
“She’s a great addition to our coaching staff.”
Vanidestine said Collins is “well-respected in the hockey community.
“He has demonstrated a strong desire to work with the student-athletes at Bangor High School. I’m completely confident in his ability to prepare and develop a disciplined hockey team,” said Vanidestine.