KENNEBUNK – After serving as an assistant coach for three seasons, Sean Smith has stepped up to become the boys’ varsity hockey coach at Kennebunk High, his alma mater.

Smith, a 2005 graduate, was hired Friday to replace Donald Hill, who resigned last month after a misdemeanor charge of engaging a prostitute was filed against him.

Hill, 52, of Old Orchard Beach, is one of more than 100 men accused of patronizing Alexis Wright, a Zumba instructor who allegedly ran a prostitution operation in Kennebunk. Hill entered a not guilty plea and has requested the case be transferred to Superior Court for a jury trial.

Smith, 25, will start Monday when the Rams open tryouts at the Harold Alfond Forum at the University of New England in Biddeford.

Kennebunk Athletic Director Thor Nilsen said Smith was the unanimous choice of a selection committee made up players, booster club members and staff members. The committee interviewed eight candidates, he said.

“The interviews were pretty intense and we gleaned a lot of information from each of the candidates,” Nilsen said. “They talked about their style, their philosophy and ultimately, after it was all said and done, we unanimously chose Sean.”

Previously, Smith, who earned bachelor’s and masters degrees from Endicott College in Beverly, Mass., spent one season as an assistant coach of a co-op varsity girls’ team made up of players from Marblehead and Swampscott, Mass.

“We like his philosophy on working with kids,” Nilsen said. “He’s a disciplinarian but he’s fair in his approach. He’s calm in his approach yet firm. We need that in hockey.”

Smith, who works at Webannett Golf Club in Kennebunk, said he was happy to get the chance.

“I really love this (hockey) program, this school and this community,” he said. “I’m really excited about this opportunity, and I really think we can do great things.”

Last season the Rams reached the quarterfinals of the Western Class A tournament.

“I don’t think you’re going to get anybody with the desire to coach in Kennebunk more than Sean displayed in a professional manner that impressed everybody on the (selection) committee,” Nilsen said.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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