September 22, 2019
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UMPI softball coach could be coaching against future employee

UMPI athletics | BDN
UMPI athletics | BDN
Sara Shaw

Sara Shaw could find herself in an interesting situation at the North Atlantic Conference softball tournament this weekend at Colby College in Waterville.

Shaw is the head softball coach and the assistant athletic director at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

But on May 13, she will become the athletic director at Thomas College in Waterville.

Thomas also is participating in the NAC tournament.

So, if Thomas and UMPI face each other, Shaw will be going up against Thomas coach Ali Kriegel, who will be working for her in a couple of weeks.

Second seed Husson rallied to beat No. 3 UMPI 9-6 on Friday and top seed Thomas nipped No. 4 the University of Maine at Farmington 4-3 in eight innings. So UMPI would have to beat Farmington on Saturday and Thomas would have to lose to Husson for the two of them to meet.

Shaw admitted that having the tournament in Waterville with a chance to face Thomas is weird.

The Strong native, a former soccer, basketball and softball player at Mount Abram High School, is in her fifth season as UMPI’s softball coach.

She said she has enjoyed her time at UMPI and said it is going to be hard to leave the student-athletes.

But the former UMaine-Farmington softball and basketball player is excited about her new job.

“It’s exciting. I’ve always had a lot of respect for Thomas College and how they do things, having been a former NAC athlete,” said the 33-year-old Shaw. “I really look forward to working there.

“I will also be closer to home,” she added.

Shaw, who also attended Springfield College and Central Maine Community College in Auburn, worked in media relations at UMPI when she first arrived. Her husband, Jason, a native of Wilton, opened up a sports apparel store there. She also served as the recreation director in Limestone.

Then she landed the UMPI softball job and became the assistant AD.

Shaw said the Thomas position will be challenging but said there are a lot of similarities between being a coach and an AD.

The UMPI players are supportive of her decision.

“We’re going to miss her but we’re really excited for her. It’s a great opportunity,” said UMPI junior shortstop Sarah Duncklee.

“She was like a second mom,” said sophomore pitcher Brookelynn Garcia. “I was super upset when she first told us but I realize she’s doing what she needs to do to be happy and we support her. We’ll always keep in touch with her.”

Shaw will replace Shanda Ness, who left in December to become the AD at Occidental College in California. Thomas women’s soccer coach Deb Biche-Labbe had been filling in as the interim AD.

“Sara’s passion for the student-athlete experience and their personal and competitive development resonates in all that she does,” Thomas Executive Vice President Bernie Ouellete said in a press release. “Her experience as an NCAA Division III player, coach and administrator combined with her entrepreneurial spirit will bring a valuable set of skills to the Thomas College community.”

The Shaws have a 4-year-old son, Ace.


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