Ryan Libby, a veteran assistant football coach at Skowhegan Area High School, has been promoted to interim head coach of the Indians’ 2017 team.
Libby, a math teacher at the school who has served as the team’s defensive coordinator for the last five years, was approved for the position by the local school board on Thursday evening.
“This year we’re going to continue what we started under Matt Friedman,” said Libby. “We’ve set ourselves up as a playoff team for the last five years and we’re going to try to continue that run and hope to keep improving.”
Libby played linebacker and offensive line under former coach Bob LeCours at Skowhegan before graduating in 2001.
He joined the coaching ranks soon after graduating from college, spending the 2005 season as an assistant at Nokomis Regional High School in Newport before returning to his alma mater as a teacher and coach a year later.
Libby coached at the eighth-grade level for one year before moving up to the high school ranks, where he has remained for the past decade.
Skowhegan finished 5-4 to earn the No. 4 seed in the Pine Tree Conference standings last fall and advanced to the Class B North quarterfinals.
Among that team’s key graduation losses were quarterback Garrett McSweeney, a Fitzpatrick Trophy semifinalist.
“I feel confident in our talent coming back that we’ll have some guys who will be ready,” said Libby. “It’s hard to replace a kid like Garrett but I’ve got a lot of confidence in the next guy in line.”
Friedman remained with the program through the annual Central Maine Skills Day hosted by the Skowhegan football program in late June.
Since then Libby has been leading the team in its participation in the Central Maine Passing League at Leavitt Area High School in Turner Center as well as in a smaller seven-on-seven league based at Colby College in Waterville.
Preseason practices are scheduled to begin Aug. 14, with Skowhegan set to open its regular season at home with a crossover game against Marshwood of South Berwick on Sept. 1.
Skowhegan athletic administrator Jon Christopher said the school opted to go with an interim head coach this fall to maintain program stability in the wake of the timing of Friedman’s resignation, but plans are to name a permanent replacement sometime after the 2017 season.
Libby said his goal is to maintain the head coaching position beyond the upcoming campaign.
“Of course, Ryan will surely be in the mix at that time as well,” said Christopher. “We were just allowed to forego this process for now primarily to guarantee that the kids do not have to learn a completely new system starting on the first day of preseason.”