When Paula Doughty retired from teaching last year, the Maine field hockey community shook its head in unison. Now nothing would distact the longtime Skowhegan field hockey coach from making her already dominant team better.

“She was more focused on field hockey, for sure,” said Haley Carter, a senior on last fall’s team.

Skowhegan won its third consecutive Class A state title and 15th championship in 17 years. Under Doughty, the Indians have won 17 consecutive regional titles, and 20 of the last 21.

In Maine high school sports, Skowhegan field hockey is as close to perfect as it gets. The constant over the years has been the guiding hand of Doughty.

It’s that consistent excellence that earned Doughty the Coach of the Year award for girls’ teams at the Varsity Maine Awards on June 26.

“There were so many great coaches. I didn’t know what to expect tonight when I showed up here,” Doughty said moments after accepting the award. “To sit in that room and see all those wonderful kids and coaches. It’s very moving.”

Carter described Doughty as an excellent teacher. On the rare occasions when Skowhegan loses, Doughty stresses to her team to turn the experience into a positive.

“She tells us to take a loss as a lesson, make it a good thing and learn from it,” Carter said.

The 2017 season was Doughty’s 37th as the Indians’ coach. In that time, Doughty has led Skowhegan to 18 state titles, the first coming in 1991, and 21 regional championships. This past season, Skowhegan went 17-1 and beat Westbrook in the state championship game, 2-1.

Challengers to Skowhegan’s dominance come and go. The last seven championships were won over six different schools (Scarborough fell to Skowhegan twice). Year in and year out, for two decades, Doughty’s teams have been Maine’s gold standard. Athletes join the program expecting to win. They also know that they’ll work hard to keep the Skowhegan field hockey machine moving forward.

“She’s intense,” Carter said of Doughty. “We practiced a lot more now that she wasn’t teaching.”

With more than 500 wins and a Maxpreps national field hockey coach of the year honor on her resume, Doughty said she has no plans to retire from coaching anytime soon. Why stop if it’s still fun, she said.

“I think I love it in a different way. I think when you start coaching, it’s all about winning and winning and winning,” Doughty said. “Of course I still love to win. But it’s all about my kids and their futures and seeing them do great things. I love it so much.”

The prize for winning a Varsity Maine Award, a custom Winterstick snowboard, held personal significance for Doughty.

“Seth Wescott was one of my childrens’ best friends,” she said of the two-time Olympic gold medalist, one of Winterstick’s owners. “To have his board, they’re going to love it so much.”


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