GORHAM, Maine – Following an exhaustive national search University of Southern Maine Director of Athletics Al Bean has announced Samantha Allen as the next head coach of the nationally-regarded Huskies’ women’s basketball program.
“I’m very pleased to welcome Samantha Allen to USM as the next head coach of the women’s basketball program. Since completing her outstanding collegiate playing career at Colby College, Sam has been preparing herself to become a head coach at the college level. Her stops along the way, at Smith College, the University of Vermont, and this past year, working directly with veteran mentor Gary Fifield, have prepared her very well to take the next step professionally,” noted USM Athletic Director Al Bean. “Samantha has tremendous knowledge of the game, is an excellent teacher and motivator and is totally committed to developing her craft. She has very close family ties to the University of Southern Maine and fully understands the magnitude of her new role as head coach. I look forward to working closely with Sam and have great confidence in her abilities to be an effective leader and make a positive difference for our student-athletes. It’s my distinct pleasure to welcome Sam to the USM staff.”
Allen, who has five seasons of collegiate coaching experience including two seasons with Division I University of Vermont, will replace USM’s long-time legendary coach Gary Fifield who retired after 27 seasons with the Huskies.
“I am excited and honored to join the University of Southern Maine family,” said Allen of her appointment. “The Huskies’ women’s basketball program has been a masterpiece of success under Coach Fifield’s 27 seasons on the sidelines. It has been such an asset to work with Coach Fifield this past season and to learn from such a knowledgeable basketball mind. I am humbled to follow such a remarkable and well-respected leader and I am exhilarated to craft a new era and continue to develop strong, intelligent and hard-working women. I am excited for the opportunity to infuse my spirit throughout the program and to inspire these dedicated women to succeed on the court, in the classroom and within the community and to carry on the tradition of excellence that Huskies’ women’s basketball has created.”
Allen served as the Huskies’ lead assistant during the 2014-2015 season and as the program’s recruiting coordinator. Prior to her season with the Huskies, Allen was the Director of Basketball Operations from 2012-2014 with the Division I University of Vermont Catamounts. Allen also had two seasons on the sidelines as an assistant coach with the Smith College Pioneers during the 2010-2012 seasons.
While with the Catamounts, Allen implemented new recruiting tactics that resulted in a pair of America East All-Rookie team selections and she was a member of the coaching staff that helped UVM win its first America East playoff game in three seasons.
Allen’s successful recruiting tactics took hold during her two seasons with the Smith College Pioneers. While in charge of the Pioneer’s recruiting program, Allen brought in and helped develop two NEWMAC Rookie of the Year selections, a pair of NEWBA All-Region student-athletes a trio of all-conference athletes and one DIII Preseason All-American. During that time, Smith achieved several program first, including its first appearances in the NEWMAC finals and ECAC post-season appearance. During the 2011-2012 season, Smith sets a then program-record for wins in a season.
“I am thrilled that Samantha Allen will be the next Head Women’s Basketball at the University of Southern Maine,” said outgoing USM head coach Gary Fifield. “Sam is an exceptional teacher, coach and person. She will work very hard to bring top-notch players and people to the University. She is a relentless and well-connected recruiter who can attract and coach excellent players. I am confident that the USM women’s basketball teams, under Sam’s leadership, will always be well prepared, well coached, display good sportsmanship and represent the University with distinction.”
Familiar to the Maine girls’ high school and women’s college basketball scene, Allen enjoyed tremendously successful careers as Lake Region High School and Colby College. A Miss Maine Basketball Finalist in 2006, Allen earned numerous conference and regional honors during her high school playing career helping Lake Region to its first appearance in the State Championship game in 30 years in 2006. Allen was inducted into the Lake Region High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.
Following her high school playing career, Allen earned a scholarship to compete at Division II Southern New Hampshire University. A member of SNHU’s women’s basketball team from 2006-2008, Allen transferred to Colby College to close out her collegiate playing career. While at Colby (2008-2010), Allen was served as one of the Mules’ captains and earned the team’s Coaches’ Award for the 2009-10 season. With Allen’s leadership, Colby set a single-season mark for wins during the 2009-10 season posting a 24-5 record. Along the way, Colby earned its first ever national ranking and its first NCAA tournament bid.
Allen has strong ties to the University of Southern Maine. Her father, Phil and step-mother Jill both attended Southern Maine, while her mother, Lisa Chase, also an USM alumnae was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame for her outstanding career as a member of the softball team.
Allen earned her bachelor’s degree with academic distinction in Administrative Science from Colby College in 2010 and received her master’s degree in Exercise and Sport Studies in 2012 from Smith College.