As someone who grew up in Mars Hill, Stori Shaw has a special place in her heart for Aroostook County.
Shaw, a 1993 graduate of Central Aroostook High, is returning to the Mars Hill school to coach the girls soccer and basketball teams.
“I’ve been contemplating moving back up there since around Christmas, I guess,” said Shaw. “That’s where my family is and things couldn’t be better for me personally right now.”
Shaw coached the girls soccer team at Hermon last fall, leading the Hawks to the Class B quarterfinals where they fell to eventual regional champion Caribou.
As one would expect, the decision to leave Hermon was not an easy one for Shaw, especially knowing the Hawks were a young team in 2010 and are expected to be a playoff-caliber team again this fall.
“I have nothing but the utmost respect for the administration, the athletics,” said Shaw. “(Hermon AD) Paul Soucy has been absolutely wonderful. I could not ask for more support than I received from him last year (and) the fellow coaches, the teachers, the parents and, of course, most importantly, the players.”
As a graduate of Central Aroostook, Shaw knows all about the school’s basketball tradition and is excited to be a part of it once again.
“I’m definitely excited to go back, there’s good people up there. It’s a good place to live, good place to raise a family,” she said.
The Panthers have fielded contending teams the last few years, and played in the Eastern Maine Class D championship game in 2010 before losing to Fort Fairfield, which went on to win the state title.
Central Aroostook advanced to the Class D semifinals this year and lost to Deer Isle-Stonington.
This will be Shaw’s first basketball-coaching go-around in Maine. She had two years of varsity coaching experience while living in Georgia.
“My passion is coaching in general and kids, and athletics, so it all kind of fits,” she said.
Shaw is also an advocate of the uptempo style of basketball.
“I love the running game, but if my girls don’t respond well to that, we’ll have to mix it up,” she said. “We definitely will be entertaining to watch, I can tell you that. They’re going to be working hard.”
While Shaw is excited to be in charge of two programs at Central Aroostook, she will always have a special place in her heart for Hermon.
“I love those girls like my own. They’re just wonderful, they gave it all they had,” she said. “They have a lot of guts and determination. They respected me, I obviously respected them in return.”
Shaw is also excited to start getting to know her new players, and that process will begin when she heads to a summer soccer camp in Houlton run by Houlton girls coach Tim Tweedie in mid-June.
“One thing that’s neat about Class D is most teenagers play every sport,” she said. “You have most of the same kids.”