ROCKPORT, Maine — A familiar face is returning as head coach of the Camden Hills wrestling program.
Patrick Kelly, a former state champion as both a wrestler and a coach at his alma mater, has been hired to replace one of his former wrestlers, Levi Rollins, who stepped down after last season to spend more time with his young family.
Rollins guided the Windjammers for five years, winning Class B state championships in 2010 and 2012 and finishing second at the state meet in 2009 and 2011.
Kelly had a standout career as a wrestler at Camden-Rockport — which preceded Camden Hills — during the late 1970s and early ’80s, finishing as state runner-up in his weight class as a junior before winning an individual state title as a senior at 138 pounds.
At the University of Maine in Orono, he won a New England title in 1986 and competed in that year’s NCAA championship meet. A three-time All-Academic honoree for the Black Bears, Kelly finished his college career with a 116-20 record.
Kelly soon joined his older brother John on the coaching staff at Camden-Rockport, first as a volunteer during the early 1990s and later as a paid assistant from 1996 to 2002. During that period, the Windjammers had unprecedented success in Class B, winning 10 state titles between 1990 and 2002.
When John Kelly stepped down after the 2002 season, Patrick Kelly took over as head coach and guided Camden Hills to three Class B state championships, four Eastern Maine titles, four Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference crowns and an overall meet record of 117-5 in four years before leaving the post in 2006.
Kelly, also a teacher at Camden Hills, was inducted into the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame in 2007.
Last winter, Camden Hills claimed the Class B state championship in dominant fashion, going 27-0 in dual-meet competition and then winning the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Eastern Maine Class B titles by more than 100 points each
The Windjammers — with eight seniors on the roster — bested second-place Fryeburg Academy by 60 points (169-109) at the state meet, clinching that crown before the championship-round matches took place.