HAMPDEN, Maine — Ruth Lyons, who played high school soccer at Kennebunk High School and Limestone Community School/Maine School for Science and Mathematics, has been named the new girls soccer coach at Hampden Academy.
She was approved by the school board on Wednesday night and also will be the coordinator of the gifted and talented program at RSU 22.
Lyons was one of five applicants, according to Hampden Academy athletic director Mike Bisson.
She will replace interim coach Warren Shearer, an emergency room doctor who took over for Gina DeSantis in late September. DeSantis, who was in her third season, left abruptly to accept a coveted job opportunity in New York.
DeSantis compiled a 23-12-2 record in her two-plus seasons.
Hampden Academy went 9-3-2 in the regular season and earned the third seed for the Eastern Maine Class A playoffs. The Broncos were ousted by No. 2 Mount Ararat of Topsham 2-1 in the semifinals.
Lyons, who was a varsity rower at Rochester Institute of Technology (New York), does not have any formal soccer coaching experience, but Bisson said she has a number of impressive assets that he expects to translate to a quality coach.
“She is an excellent educator,” said Bisson. “She is very smart and will make a good connection with the girls. She is someone they can follow and respect.”
The 34-year-old Lyons has a degree in photography from RIT, a certificate of advance studies in educational leadership from the University of Maine, a master’s degree in education from Fordham University in New York and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Connecticut.
She comes to Hampden Academy from the Renzulli Academy in Hartford, Connecticut, where she had been the principal. She had previously worked as a photojournalist and taught in the Skowhegan school system.
“I feel like I’ve hit the lottery. I’m very excited,” said Lyons, who has wanted to return to her native state.
She said she knows her lack of soccer coaching experience may cause some raised eyebrows, but she is confident she can get the job done.
“I know the sport. I’ll be able to help the girls balance their academics and athletics and develop as a person on and off the field,” said Lyons, whose twin sister, Meghann Derosier, lives in Orono.
Lyons intends to devise her strategy “based on the players’ strengths.”
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” she said.