Michael Daly is taking over as Deering’s athletic director this school year. Michael Hoffer / The Forecaster

PORTLAND—After enjoying great success as a college coach, Michael Daly is primed to tackle high school athletic administration as he inherits the Deering AD position this school year.

And he’s already a big fan of his new city.

“I have friends in the area and I’ve loved Portland, so getting the opportunity to come up here was appealing to me,” said Daly, who replaced Melanie Craig, who left after eight years to become the Dean of Students at Bonny Eagle Middle School in Standish. “Portland is a vibrant city. It’s a great place for families and high school sports. It reminds me of a bigger, better, more diverse Portsmouth (New Hampshire), where I’ve been the past 10 years.”

Daly, a baseball player at Boston Latin High School, studied sports media at the University of New Hampshire, then went on to graduate school at Northeastern University in Boston and Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. At Stonehill, Daly found his niche as the coach of the nascent women’s lacrosse program and also served as an assistant AD. Daly led the Skyhawks to three national championship games and a pair of Division II titles, in 2003 and 2005.

Daly also had coaching stints at UNH, Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts and Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. He’s also been an assistant director of athletics at Stonehill and Merrimack.

Daly got his first high school exposure in 2016, coaching the Haverhill (Massachusetts) High girls’ lacrosse team. He’s also served as the club director and recruiting advisor for Home Grown Lacrosse, a club program based in North Andover.

When the Deering job came open, Daly seized the opportunity to come to Portland.

“When I was in grad school at Northeastern, I was offered a job here at the (Portland) Expo and I didn’t take it,” Daly said. “It was always in the back of my mind. I know graduates of Deering who are very proud. I’ve heard great things about Deering athletically and as a school.”

On the brink of a new school year, Daly was still in the process of meeting with coaches and learning more about student-athletes and the athletic program, but he was eager to absorb himself in all things purple and white.

“For me, it’s important to look, learn, listen and get a feel for everything here at Deering, whether it’s students, coaches, teachers, the whole community,” Daly said. “I’m going to have to absorb a lot. I’m going to lean on the people here a lot. The people here are fantastic. The community support and passion for kids at Deering is awesome.”

Deering High principal Gregg Palmer said that Daly brings several strong attributes to the position.

“Michael Daly is the complete package for Deering,” said Palmer. “He has relevant experience on the AD side, plus he clearly gets it from the coaching perspective, having a long and successful history as a college coach. He is also clearly an advocate for student-athletes, helping so many of them realize their dreams over the years. Michael also brings a marketing background, as we want to proudly promote the Deering brand. I also love that he is a communicator and gets the many ways to connect, using social media and also by being at practices and contests. We’re excited to have him on board.”

While Deering has struggled in many sports in recent years, Daly believes that the Rams can turn things around and return to their accustomed perch as one of the state’s premier athletic programs.

“It’s okay to talk about success,” Daly said. “I’m going to sit down with Principal Palmer and the coaches and talk about where we want to be in three years, five years, the goals we can work toward. The vibe and energy here are very encouraging.”

While the learning curve is daunting, Daly is eager to get started.

“You can tell I’m very enthusiastic and passionate,” Daly said. “If I can help the coaches be better, they’ll create a better experience. I love helping kids achieve their dreams. I want to help people be successful.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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