Old Town’s Shaunessy Saucier, a former University of Maine field hockey captain and Black Bear assistant field hockey coach, has been named the field hockey coach at Newport’s Nokomis High School.
She is replacing Katie Thompson and Kaitlyn Bartlett, who were the co-coaches.
Thompson, who is the co-director of coaching at the Portland-based Great Schools Partnership, will assist Saucier when she is available.
The 38-year-old Saucier, who spent eight years as the head coach at Bryant University in Rhode Island, has been teaching Spanish and French at Nokomis since late last year.
“It’s really exciting being at Nokomis. I love the school system. And I love high school field hockey and coaching players in that age group,” said Saucier, who left Bryant in 2017 after she bought the Orono-based Black Bear Elite field hockey club program.
She also served as the club’s director before passing it on to Sam Shorey and his family. The club is now based in Belfast.
Saucier then went on to work for UMaine’s Black Bear Sports Properties, a subsidiary of Learfield IMG College.
Saucier compiled a record of 51-96 at Bryant but posted an 11-7 mark in 2013, the most wins for the Bulldog field hockey program since it made the move to Division I in the 2008-09 season.
She also worked with the Futures program in Rhode Island, which involves some of the top high school players in the state.
“I enjoy working with kids and seeing how they grow and develop over time,” said Saucier, who was inducted into the Old Town High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
Saucier was an all-state player at Old Town High and played at UMaine from 2001-05 where she was a two-year captain and an All-America East second team selection in 2005.
Her mother, Dodi, spent 20 years as the field hockey coach at Orono High School and is a member of the Orono Sports Hall of Fame.
Saucier has already begun working with her players in their summer program.
“There is a lot of pride at Nokomis. It has a great tradition in athletics,” Saucier said. “We have a great group of girls to work with. They have already been well-coached and they are really competitive.”
Thompson had been the head coach for 11 years previously and led the Warriors to three Class B North titles and two state championships in 2010 and 2013.
Saucier said having Thompson as an assistant is going to be a real asset to the program.
Thompson said Saucier is going to be an “amazing fit” for the program.
“She is energetic and enthusiastic and she really knows her Xs and Os,” Thompson said. “I can’t think of a better fit. It’s going to be exciting to see what she’s doing to go with the program.”
Saucier said she “loves figuring out what each player’s strength is” and further developing those skills.
“You are hard to defend if you have players with a variety of different skills,” Saucier said. She will also encourage her players to try new things.
“I don’t want them to be afraid to make mistakes. I want them to play with energy and to have fun,” she said.
Saucier said she will have an impressive incoming first-year class and several quality players, including Brianna Townsend and Madeline Roundy, who played on her Black Bear Elite teams.
And she pointed out that she will be coaching the daughter of her former UMaine teammate Liz (Mendell) Hawthorne: Addie Hawthorne.
“We have some strong players,” she said.