Amy Ashley aspired to become a high school athletic director years ago while a student at Messalonskee High. Now she’ll finally get her chance.

Ashley, a two-sport coach at Yarmouth High, was named the new athletic director at Cheverus on Wednesday. She’ll replace Gary Hoyt, who retired in July after 37 years as the Stags’ AD.

“This is an opportunity that is once in a lifetime,” said Ashley. “It’s been a long time since this job was open at Cheverus. … To be athletic director at Cheverus is a dream come true. I feel like I’m going home.”

Ashley, 33, was an assistant to Hoyt at Cheverus from 2006-14, soon after she graduated from Franklin Pierce College. Since 2014, she has served an assistant to Susan Robbins, the Yarmouth athletic director.

“Cheverus is lucky to have her,” said Robbins. “She will be dearly missed here. In addition to being wonderfully organized and an astute assistant, she was a beloved coach who created great bonds with not only her students, but the parents as well.”

Ashley coached field hockey and softball at Yarmouth, winning a Class B softball state championship in 2015. She will continue to coach the Clippers’ field hockey team until Sept. 21, when she begins her new job at Cheverus. Her last game will be Sept. 20 against Cape Elizabeth.

“It is very tough to lose coaching, but this is a dream of mine,” said Ashley, who also coached field hockey at Cheverus and led the Stags to the 2010 Class A state championship game. “One thing I feel strongly is that I will be losing a select group of athletes, but I will be gaining an entire student body. And this will connect me with the boys at Cheverus, which is something I’ve never experienced.

“I feel that coaching can help me in my new position, and I can understand the day-to-day issues that coaches face.”

There were more than 75 applicants for the position, according to a news release from Cheverus. Ashley said her time working with Hoyt and Robbins has prepared her well.

“I feel I had two of the best mentors I could have had,” she said. “Under Gary, I learned so much about Cheverus and the long-standing tradition that the program has. From Susan, I learned to be a strong woman in that position.”

Ashley said her first role model was Gwen Bacon, the athletic director while she attended Messalonksee, where she played three sports.

“She was a strong female presence in an administrative role,” said Ashley. “That’s when I realized what I wanted to do.”

Robbins said she and Ashley had many conversations over the years on how to deal with situations that might arise.

“She was always trying to do what’s best for the student,” said Robbins. “She’s firm, but fair, and that’s helpful in this profession. And one of the biggest skills you need is interpersonal skills. Amy has that.”

Robbins said after Ashley leaves, the Yarmouth field hockey team will be coached by assistants Andrea Musante-Woodcock and Kristy Bernatchez.

Counting Ashley, there will be 16 female athletic directors in Maine, according to Marty Ryan, executive director of the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. There are approximately 145 MIAAA members.

Ashley, who has a daughter, Annie, who will turn 2 in November, said she realizes she has a tough person to follow in Hoyt.

“I feel honored to follow him and follow his lessons,” she said. “I hope to come in with new energy and new enthusiasm. I want to support the coaches and give Cheverus a new look, but also continue the great athletic program they have.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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