June 19, 2018
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Canty looks to smooth transition as new Hampden Academy football coach

By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

HAMPDEN, Maine — Kevin Canty has spent the last seven years coaching football at the college level.

But given the specific nature of those jobs, the former NCAA Division II All-American offensive lineman from Wingate University in North Carolina doesn’t anticipate a significant transition as he joins the high school ranks as the new head football coach at Hampden Academy.

“Because we were so young at the the last three places I coached, I don’t see it as much of a culture shock,” said Canty, whose nomination to replace the retired Harry McCluskey as the Broncos’ coach was approved by the school board Wednesday night.

“I don’t look at it as being a great challenge to go to the high school level, I look at it as a great opportunity to become a head coach.”

Canty spent the last two years at Husson University in Bangor, where he served as offensive coordinator as well as the Eagles’ quarterback and tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator under former head coach Sean Murphy.

Prior to coming to Maine, he spent two seasons at Lake Forest (Division Ill) College after coaching in a start-up program during the 2008 season at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn., where he was the offensive line coach and run game coordinator. He also served as that team’s video coordinator and as the co-strength and conditioning coordinator for the athletic department.

Canty also coached for two years at his alma mater, initially as a graduate assistant before serving as the tight ends and running backs coach during his second year with the Bulldogs.

Canty was a three-year letterwinner during his playing days at Wingate, where he capped off his career by starting in the East Coast Senior Bowl.

During his time at Husson, Canty had a chance to scout Hampden’s football team in his recruiting role with the Eagles.

“From what I saw in person and then what I saw on film, it looks like the offensive line and quarterback is pretty much in place at Hampden,” said Canty, whose wife Maureen teaches at the Mary Snow School in Bangor.

Canty said he also will continue the 7-on-7 summer football program for area high school teams started by McCluskey at Hampden’s artificial-turf facility, this summer beginning June 20 and running for several subsequent Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

McCluskey, a former lineman at Colorado State who coached high school football in Texas and Colorado for four decades, served as Hampden’s varsity coach for eight years.

He guided the Broncos to a 45-30 overall record and seven Pine Tree Conference Class B postseason appearances.

Four times Hampden advanced to the regional semifinals, and the Broncos made three other trips to the quarterfinals, including last fall when third-seeded Hampden was upset by No. 6 Waterville 25-17 in the quarterfinals to finish its season with a 7-2 record.

Under the new four-class format for high school football in the state adopted by the Maine Principals’ Association in late March, Hampden will compete this fall in a reconfigured Eastern Maine Class B. That division will include two-time defending Eastern A champion Lawrence of Fairfield, other 2012 Class A programs Brunswick, Cony of Augusta, Messalonskee of Oakland and Skowhegan, reigning Class B state champion Mt. Blue of Farmington, Brewer and Gardiner.

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