From the five state championship banners in the gym to the field at the high school, no one is more closely associated with Dexter High field hockey than Margaret Veazie.
Veazie retired from coaching the Tigers in 2003 to follow her own daughters' college field hockey careers, but she didn't stay retired for long.
After a two-year absence, Veazie will return as the program's head coach this fall. Her nomination was approved by a 13-0 vote during a school board meeting Wednesday night at Dexter High School, SAD 46 Superintendent Kevin Jordan said after the meeting.
A physical education teacher at the school, Veazie coached the field hockey team to five Class C state titles including the school's first in 1998 and four straight from 2000 to 2003.
The Tigers won a state-record 63 straight games while Veazie was the head coach. In her seven years she had one tie and five losses, four of which came in her first season.
Last winter the school board voted to name the field hockey field after Veazie.
But her return to the program almost didn't happen.
Veazie said she's coming back in part to groom two of her former standout players to eventually take over the program. One of those players is Amanda Pullen, who is a senior on the field hockey team at UMaine-Farmington. The other is her daughter Kristy Veazie, who just graduated from UMF.
Margaret Veazie said when the middle school B team coaching position opened for this coming fall, Kristy Veazie applied for the job with the goal of staying a few years and then moving up to the high school varsity position, hopefully with Pullen on the staff.
But Kristy Veazie wasn't offered a job interview for the middle school post.
"I didn't really understand it," Margaret Veazie said. "She's a hometown girl who is a huge role model to these [younger] girls. ...I wasn't trying to get her a job coaching the middle school team. She just wanted something in the school district. I'm trying to mentor these girls [Pullen and Kristy Veazie]. If she wasn't going to be here, I wasn't going to be here."
Jordan said there was an in-house candidate, Leilani Cyr, who was hired in June. He declined to comment further on other applicants.
"[Cyr] is very qualified and she has great credentials," Jordan said. "We're lucky to have her."
Margaret Veazie said the school worked out a compromise and has offered Kristy Veazie a part-time position. Jordan said that appointment, which is a two-thirds health and character teacher at the high school, was also approved by the school board Wednesday.
Kristy Veazie won't serve as an assistant coach to her mother, but will help out with the team.
One of the reasons Margaret Veazie resigned two years two was to watch both Kristy, her older daughter, and Brittany Veazie, her younger daughter who will be a junior at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass., this fall, play field hockey.
She still plans to make some trips to watch Brittany Veazie play, but it shouldn't get in the way of any Dexter games. "I can go down to watch her on the weekend so it shouldn't interfere too much," she said.
Veazie replaces Sheila Truman, who coached the Tigers to a 21-9-2 record, including two appearances in the Eastern Maine Class C semifinals.
Truman had served as an assistant high school and summer camp coach under Veazie before taking over as varsity head coach.
Veazie actually returned to the program last year as the junior varsity coach and an assistant to Truman, but Veazie said Truman agreed to step aside as head coach this fall if Veazie wanted to return.
"She's really been great about the whole thing," Veazie said.
Jordan said the school will advertise for a new JV coach.
There are 18 girls in the high school program with another 12 coming in this fall. Veazie got to know many of them through her work as an assistant last fall.
"I really felt like I had a connection with them," she said. "It's a young group and they don't have a lot of field hockey experience, but they're buying into the program and that's what I like to see."
Veazie was also a key figure in the history of Dexter girls basketball, coaching the team to an undefeated season and a state title in 2004.
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