Shane Rogers, a former standout football player and assistant coach at Husson University of Bangor, is the new head football coach at Hampden Academy.

Rogers was approved for the job Thursday evening by the Regional School Unit 22 board of directors. He replaces Fred Lower, who coached the Broncos last fall but was named the school’s athletic administrator in June.

Rogers will be Hampden’s fourth head coach in as many years. Providing an air of stability to the program in order to boost participation numbers will be among his top priorities.

“Winning doesn’t hurt, but having someone there for a significant amount of time, longer than three years, is how I think you’ll start to see the growth of the program if that coach is going in the right direction,” Rogers said.

“I feel like not having anyone in that position for a sustainable amount of time did hurt the team and its numbers. You have to have a coach who’s there for a number of years to build the program.”

Rogers hopes to reinvigorate a program that has struggled since Harry McCluskey retired as head coach after the 2012 season.

McCluskey guided the Broncos to a 45-30 record in his eight years. Since then Hampden has gone a combined 10-23, including 2-6 each of the last two seasons in Class B North.

“I know they’re in a rebuilding process,” Rogers said. “I’ll be their fourth coach in the last four years, so I do understand where they are. But I’ve never been a guy to shy away from a challenge.

‘“The atmosphere at Hampden is unbelievable. They’re just dying for a winner and I feel with the right coaching and the right bunch of guys we can do that. We just need to cultivate the culture of winning there again.”

Rogers, a native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, was a four-year letterwinner as a defensive end at Husson and was named to the 2005 All-East Region Team.

The two-year captain for the Eagles ranks among that program’s career leaders in numerous defensive statistical categories and was inducted into the Husson Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

Rogers went on to serve as linebackers coach at Husson from 2008 through 2011, then returned to coach Gabby Price’s staff with the Eagles for three more seasons between 2013 and 2015.

Rogers’ hiring at Hampden Academy marks his return to coaching after a brief hiatus from the sidelines.

“My kids are a little older now, and I had that football itch. I just missed it,” he said. “The game was never at a distance as far as my knowledge, how I follow the game and in breaking down film for other people. I stepped away from the hands-on part, but from the film aspect of it I was never really away from it.”

One attraction to the Hampden job for Rogers was his relationship with Lower, an assistant coach at Husson when Rogers played for the Eagles.

“I knew Fred as a coach when I first got to Husson, and we’ve always had a real good connection,” Rogers said. “I always had great respect for him as far as his leadership ability and always being organized. I always respected him as a coach, so to get the opportunity to talk to him about this position was almost like a dream come true.”

Rogers anticipates his team eventually playing uptempo football.

“What I’d like to do is start off airing the football out but what I know we need to do is teach the offense and go back to our fundamentals and really show our kids how to do it,” he said. “It may start out slow, but that’s where I would like to get.

“I want to us play a fast style of football. We want to spread it out, play physical defense, and we want to have fun.”

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...