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New Deering High School football coach Rob Susi.
Rob Susi has spent over three decades playing and coaching football and Monday, Susi stepped into a new role, head coach at Deering High School.
Susi, a longtime assistant coach at the high school level, who also played and coached at the semi-pro level, replaces Jason Jackson, whose contract was not renewed earlier this year after he served three seasons at the helm.
“I’m really excited,” Susi said. “I’m really looking forward to working with the kids. This is a program that was successful, then had some lean years. It reminds me of playing at Waterville (High School). They were great in the 70s and struggled in the 80s when I played. I can fight for these kids who I can relate to.”
“With over 20 years of experience in high school football, (Rob) is ready to take on and build his own program,” said Deering athletic director Melanie Craig, in a press release. “We’re excited to have Rob’s passion, leadership and skill set taking the helm of Deering football.”
Susi, Falmouth High School’s Student Resource Officer, was an All-State offensive and defensive tackle at Waterville, who went on to play guard for Boston University and defensive end for the University of Maine.
Susi’s college playing days were compromised by injuries, but he later played three years of semi-pro football.
Susi, a South Portland resident, has served as an assistant coach at the high school level at Falmouth, South Portland, Deering and Cape Elizabeth and also coached for the Southern Maine Raging Bulls, Maine Sabers and Maine Lions semi-pro teams.
“I got to learn and be exposed to so many different things, on offense and defense,” said Susi. “(Falmouth coach) John Fitzsimmons is a great organizer and manager. (South Portland coach) Steve Stinson is a great offensive mind and line coach extraordinaire and (Cape Elizabeth coach) Aaron Filieo is just a great coach in every aspect.”
Filieo said that Susi has many qualities that will make him a succcessful head coach.
“Coach Susi is an excellent teacher who takes time to address all of the players’ needs while challenging those who require an advanced level of instruction,” Filieo said. “He’s steady and consistent in his work ethic and has an uncanny ability to connect and communicate with players and parents alike.”
Susi isn’t committed to a certain style of play. He plans to learn his personnel, then adapt.
“I’ve seen the Wing-T, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust, the Power-I and the spread and I want to get a chance to look at the kids and figure out what we can do to be successful,” Susi said.
Susi becomes Deering’s fifth coach since Greg Stilphen stepped down in 2010 following a 14-year stint.
The Rams went 1-8 last fall, making the playoffs before losing to Bonny Eagle in the Class A South quarterfinals.