In her eight years as athletic director at Deering High in Portland, Mel Craig likes to think she’s elevated the Rams’ program to one of the best in the area.

Now she’s embarking on a different path in her career. Craig is leaving her position at Deering to become the Dean of Students at Bonny Eagle Middle School in Standish. She said it was time to pay some attention to athletes of her own – sons Bradan, who will be a sophomore at Gray-New Gloucester and plays soccer and lacrosse, and Brycan, who will be an eight-grade soccer player.

“I’ll be getting to watch my own boys play ball,” said Craig, who was the athletic director at Gray-NG for three years before Deering. “It’s time to be their biggest fan. They’ve sacrificed a lot. It’s time for me to be there for them.”

The 49-year-old Craig, a native of Smithfield, Rhode Island, said she was proud of her time at Deering, which saw the Rams improve their facilities and outlook. In 2017, Deering became the first school in the nation to offer athletic hijabs to its Muslim students.

“I think we were able to get Deering up to a Class A standard,” she said. “Our success is beyond wins and losses. What we built here is a culture of family first. It was a team effort and we put the kids first. We took care of them. It wasn’t without bumps in the road, you can’t sit in the AD’s chair without weathering storms.”

She realizes not everyone agreed with her decisions, especially when it came to coaches. But, said Craig, “At the end of the day I hope to be remembered as a student advocate.”

Her new position at Bonny Eagle will allow her to expand that role. She will be in direct contact with students every day. “You are the boots on the ground with the kids,” she said. “I’m looking forward to building those relationships with the kids. It’s doing what I love doing.”

But she won’t stray far from sports. “I definitely see myself continuing,” she said. “I want to stay involved with high school athletics in some way.”

YARMOUTH HIGH

The Yarmouth School Committee approved the hire of David Creech as the new athletic director at Yarmouth High. He will replace Susan Robbins, who is stepping down later this month after 14 years as the AD.

Creech has 30 years as an educator in Maine as a teacher, coach and administrator. This school year he has been the principal at Winthrop High after serving as the principal at Scarborough High from 2013-18.

Yarmouth High also announced that Andrew Higgins will become the school’s new girls’ soccer coach. Higgins was the boys’ soccer coach at Gray-New Gloucester and has coached with Seacoast United.


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