Megan Korhonen and Joe Levesque will make their debuts as head coaches next season at Central Aroostook High School in Mars Hill.
Korhonen, 23, will be the girls basketball coach as well as the boys and girls cross country coach and Levesque, 41, will move up from the junior high school to coach the Central Aroostook girls varsity soccer team.
Stori Shaw had coached the girls basketball and soccer teams but Central Aroostook athletic director Ryan Guerrette said she resigned to move to southern Maine.
Korhonen was the JV basketball coach and assistant softball coach this past season while Levesque finished up his fourth season coaching the middle school girls soccer team.
Guerrette said they were selected from applicant pools of less than five but he feels they are good hires.
“Megan was an excellent applicant. She brings a lot of passion and knowledge about both sports. She’s a great asset to the athletic program,” said Guerrette. “And we felt it was time to give Joe a chance. We felt he was ready to step up to the varsity level. We’ve seen progress in his middle school teams during his four years. The players’ skills are getting better and better and we think he’ll do a good job for us.”
Shaw led the girls basketball team to a 14-4 regular season record and the third seed for the Eastern Maine Class D tournament. The Panthers were ousted in the semifinals by Hodgdon 42-37 and concluded with a 16-5 mark.
The girls soccer team finished 10th in the standings and upset Deer Isle-Stonington 1-0 in the preliminary round before losing to Penobscot Valley of Howland 4-0 in the quarterfinals and finishing at 6-7-3.
Guerrette said Shaw did a “very good job” with both teams.
“She was a great asset to our program. I hated to see her go,” said Guerrette.
Korhonen and Levesque said they’re excited about the upcoming opportunities.
“It’s a big step but I’m excited about it,” said Korhonen, a Littleton native and former multi-sport standout at Greater Houlton Christian Academy and the University of Maine-Presque Isle.
She said she would love to play an “up-tempo brand of basketball” but isn’t sure if she will have the personnel to do so this coming season.
“We’ll adjust game-to-game and see what’s going to work best for us,” she said.
Guerrette explained that the cross country program has been resurrected.
“We haven’t had it since the 1980s but a handful of kids came to me showing interest in it and we had 28 names on a sign-up sheet,” said Guerrette. “Since we’re a small school, we have a unique situation in that we allow kids in fall sports to play multiple-sports like Washburn does.
“Any time you can add a program it’s a good opportunity for the kids,” he added.
Korhonen said she ran cross country at GCHA.
“Sports are my life,” she said.
Levesque said he feels he is ready to make the move up.
“It’s kind of funny. The senior group I’ll have this year are the girls I had as eighth-graders when I first started,” said Levesque, a native of Mars Hill and former Central Aroostook soccer player.
He said his team will “need to focus on defense.
“If you can’t keep the ball out of your net, it’s going to make for a long season,” said Levesque. “We’ll be more of a possession-style team than a boot-and-run team. You can maintain the clock [more efficiently] that way.”
He expects to have a “good foundation of defenders” and is hoping to add an influx of talented attacking players to “balance the team.”
He will get to coach one of his daughters, Karli, who will be a freshman but since he is moving up, he will have to wait to coach another daughter Kassidy, who will be in seventh grade.