A couple of years ago, Amy Vachon, content to serve as an assistant, wasn’t looking to become a high school head basketball coach.

That all changed recently, and on Wednesday afternoon, Vachon was named the head basketball coach at McAuley High, an all-girls Catholic school in Portland.

“This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said Vachon, who was an assistant coach to Billy Goodman at Greely High in Cumberland the last two years. “I think I would have regretted not going for it and not trying. I wasn’t looking, but this opportunity presented itself and it seems like a really good fit.”

The 31-year-old Vachon, who is a guidance counselor at Westbrook Middle School, replaces Wil Smith, who resigned after four seasons and a 54-26 record and one Western Class A title.

McAuley received over 20 applicants for the position, but Vachon made the biggest impression.

“It was her vitality,” said Joe Kilmartin, the athletic director at McAuley. “We had some students on the (selection) panel and she really connected with them. All the candidates had the X’s and O’s, but she stood out.”

Vachon, who coached the Waterville team one season 10 years ago, had some pretty good coaching role models to follow. She played for her father, Paul Vachon, at Cony High in Augusta, where she was twice named the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year and played on two Class A state championship teams. She then moved on to the University of Maine, where she played for Joanne Palombo-McCallie and went to the NCAA tournament each year.

The last two years, she was an assistant to Goodman, as Greely made it to the Western Class B finals each year.

“I think some people think I’m going to be like my dad,” she said. “I’m my own person. Anyone who knows me, knows that. I’d be stupid not to take things from my dad, the things that he accomplished, as well as Coach Palombo and Goodman. I’ll take what I learned from them, but I have to coach who I am.”

“I think McAuley is fortunate to get someone with that type of experience, as far as playing goes,” said Paul Vachon, now the athletic director at Cony. “Amy has always been a coach. I think Joanne would say that and her high school coach would say that. We put the ball in her hands.

“She knows what it takes to get players to play as a team. And I think she can introduce a lot of that to the younger players.”

McAuley, which lost in the regional semifinals last winter, ranks as one of the favorites in Western Class A next winter, returning such standouts as Rebecca Knight, Alexa Coulombe and Molly Mack.

“I met some of the girls and they seem excited to get to work,” said Amy Vachon. “It’s great. If we’re expected to be one of the favorites, we’ve got to go out and perform every night.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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