Cheverus names former coach as its new AD

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New Cheverus athletic director Amy Ashley. Ashley, who replaces Gary Hoyt, previously served as a coach and assistant athletic director at the school.

Replacing an athletic director isn’t an easy endeavor.

Replacing one who has served for decades and is synonymous with your institution is even more daunting.

Luckily for Cheverus High School, it can turn to someone very familiar with the athletic program to carry it forward.

Wednesday morning, Cheverus announced that Amy Ashley is replacing Gary Hoyt as the school’s Director of Athletics and Activities. Hoyt ended his 37-year run in that position when he retired last month.

Ashley, 33, who previously coached and served as an administrative assistant at Cheverus and was selected from a pool of over 75 applicants from across the country, is very excited to earn the opportunity.

“This is a dream come true,” Ashley said. “It feels like I’m going home. Cheverus is where I started my professional and coaching career.”

Ashley, who played field hockey, basketball and softball at Messalonskee High School, then went on to play field hockey and basketball at Franklin Pierce University, took over the Cheverus field hockey position in 2008 and had immediate success, leading the Stags to the playoffs every year and to the Class A state final in 2010. Ashley also coached girls’ basketball and softball at Cheverus and served as Hoyt’s longtime assistant.

In 2013, Ashley took the Yarmouth softball job and led the Clippers to their first-ever Class B state title in 2015. The year before, Ashley became the assistant athletic director at Yarmouth, under Susan Robbins. Ashley also took over the Yarmouth field hockey position in 2016 and earned her 100th career coaching victory before leading the Clippers to the regional final.

Ashley was named Forecaster Coach of the Year in the fall of 2008 and 2015, as well as in the spring of 2015.

“I’ve been so fortunate to work under Gary and Susan,” said Ashley, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Franklin Pierce in sports and recreational marketing and is finishing the Leadership Training coursework for National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Athletic Administrator certification. “Gary was such a huge mentor for me. We believe in a lot of the same things. I saw what he did well. He has so much history at Cheverus. He hired me right out of college. He and Susan are two of the best. Both of them are so supportive.”

Hoyt has nothing but praise for his successor.

“I think the world of Amy and I have from the first day she walked into my office,” Hoyt said. “She’s eager and enthusiastic and she has what I believe is the best coaching staff in the state of Maine.”

Robbins said that while Ashley will be missed in Yarmouth, she will be a great addition to the athletic administrative profession.

“Amy has been a tremendous asset to the athletic department at Yarmouth High School,” Robbins said. “Her ability to connect with student-athletes and parents is one area she will continue to excel. Amy’s knowledge about the daily organizational tasks and duties of an athletic director will ensure her success. What most impresses me about Amy is her firm but fair mentality and her ability to seek out what is in the best interest of the students she serves.

“She will be missed here in Yarmouth. She has been a superb coach of our field hockey team, which has become a yearly contender. Certainly, a highlight is her leading the way to earn our first ever softball state championship. She has also worked alongside me to create an athletic department that is second to none. It has been a pleasure to work with Amy for the past three years and I look forward to continue our work together as the head of our respective athletic programs.”

Ashley said there are some mixed feelings that come with this move.

“I’m so honored to be back at Cheverus where I started, but it’s a tough transition,” Ashley said. “I’m trying to make sure that (the field hockey and softball) programs will be just fine.”

Ashley said her interest in becoming an AD was piqued way back in high school when one of the profession’s female pioneers, Gwen Bacon, was her athletic director at Messalonskee.

“Athletics has always been such a huge part of my life and I went to school for that,” Ashley said. “I did an internship in college, then applied to Cheverus and got the job.”

Ashley will coach the Clippers field hockey team for another week before starting her new position. Yarmouth will rely on assistants Kristy Bernatchez, Andrea Musante and Angela Nasveschuk to serve in a co-coaching role the rest of the season.

Ashley’s first official day at Cheverus is next Thursday, Sept. 21.

She’s eager for her triumphant return.

“I’m very confident I can do the job well,” Ashley said. “I’m excited to learn. I’ll have the support of a so many great coaches and I’ve worked with a lot of the girls. I’ve never been able to work with the boys very much, so I’m looking forward to that too. I’ll miss coaching, but now I can work with the whole student body. I’m so excited to get started.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.