Even though she’s a dyed-in-the-wool Freeport Falcon, Sarah Holmes has certainly made herself at home in Yarmouth Clippers’ blue and white.

Sarah Holmes Contributed

And after serving multiple roles in the Yarmouth athletic department, Holmes is now taking over, as she was officially named the school’s seventh athletic director earlier this month.

“If you’d asked me even 10 years ago if I’d ever be in this role, I’d say probably not, because I didn’t know I was even capable of it, but I’ve grown a lot in the past few years and I really take the position with pride,” said Holmes, 39.

Holmes (then Sarah Daly) played three sports at Freeport High School, field hockey, basketball and softball, then she went on to play field hockey at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

After graduating, Holmes worked as a field hockey coach at Waynflete for year and served short stints as athletic trainer at South Portland and Gorham before coming to Yarmouth as athletic trainer in 2007.

It didn’t take long for Holmes to discover that her one-time rival had a lot to offer.

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“Yarmouth has a very good sense of community,” Holmes said. “I love traditions, and Yarmouth is rich in traditions and the students have all been great. I feel very fortunate to have the support I have here.”

For most of her time with the Clippers, Holmes worked for Susan Robbins, who was Yarmouth’s athletic director from 2005-2019. Robbins is a leading female voice not only in the Maine athletic administrative world but nationally as well, and Holmes said that she learned much in their years together and has also been influenced by other, newer female ADs.

“Susan has been a great mentor and because of her, I’ve been able to see that women can do this,” Holmes said. “I grew up with Susan and her three kids and saw that see could do it, then Amy (Ashley) stepped in at Cheverus and Kelsy (Ross) is across the street (at NYA). They’re all great resources and role models.

“At the AD’s conference (last month), there were 12 women there, which was really great. We bonded and bounced ideas off one another. Being new, they’ve been so helpful to me. I really value what they all have to offer.”

Holmes said that for her, the light bulb came on three years ago.

“In 2019, when it was Susan’s last year and I was sitting in interviews for the next athletic director, I thought to myself, ‘Why am I not trying for this?'” she said. “At that point, I had been an athletic trainer for 13, 14 years and loved it, but I like a new challenge and I was just ready for something a little different.”

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Holmes also assisted David Creech, who replaced Robbins, then aided Gary Groves, who was the interim athletic director from September to January of this school year.

Now, the head chair is hers and she’s already looking ahead to putting her imprint on the always-successful Clippers athletic program.

“I’ve been trying to think of different ways to engage our students in a more positive way and get people out to all of our games, not just our big games,” Holmes said. “I’m taking existing ideas and running with them and building off what we have. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Bringing somebody with an established relationship into this role is good. I’m trying to bring a lot of positivity.”

Holmes’ hiring has been met with praise and excitement.

“Sarah has been in the high school community for a long time and brings a great depth of knowledge,” said Dorothy Holt, Yarmouth’s longtime girls’ lacrosse coach, who has won nearly 200 games and six state titles. “She is incredibly talented and works well with all of the coaches, and the students relate to her and respect her. I am excited to watch her grow as an athletic director as she brings passion and dedication to the Yarmouth community.”

“I am very excited that Sarah is the new face of the Yarmouth athletic program,” said Robbins, who is now the athletic director at Gray-New Gloucester High School. “She is very well-organized and has stellar interpersonal skills, which in my mind are the two most important characteristics in a quality athletic director. Sarah’s historical perspective will help the program grow quickly under her leadership. I know she has some great new ideas for the program which will be exciting for the community. Yarmouth athletics is in good hands with Sarah at the helm of the Clipper ship.”

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Holmes, who lives in Freeport with her husband, Jake, and their son and daughter, both under the age of 10, has hit the ground running, seeing Yarmouth’s spring teams through their run to the playoffs while already planning for fall.

“The hours aren’t too, too much different,” Holmes said. “My husband is great and I have in-laws and parents within a few miles who are great resources. It’s a family environment here. I can lean on my colleagues’ experience and I can connect our new coaches with our veteran coaches to help them along.”

It’s not easy, but Holmes feels like she’s in the right place at the right time.

She certainly has experience like no other.

“In my interview, I said I’ve been part of the management training program,” Holmes said. “I’ve been a Western Maine conference athlete, coach, athletic trainer, assistant AD and now athletic director.

“I’m really excited.”

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

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