DEXTER, Maine — Margaret Veazie will begin her third stint as the field hockey coach at Dexter High School beginning Monday when she will share the duties with Nicci Burton. They will also coach the junior varsity team together.
They are replacing Kylie Damon, who led the Tigers to a 15-2 record and a spot in the Eastern Maine Class C championship game in her first season a year ago.
Dexter athletic director Roy Pelotte said Damon informed him late this spring that she is going back to college. Damon’s sister, Whitney, who was the assistant and the JV coach at Dexter last season, is also returning to school.
Pelotte said Veazie and Burton were approved in a vote by the school board on Wednesday night.
During two coaching stints between 1998-2010, Veazie guided the Tigers to seven Eastern Maine championships and six state titles.
She retired after the 2010 season and was replaced by her daughter, Kristy, who had assisted her. Kristy Veazie went 15-2 and reached the Eastern Maine title game in 2011.
Kristy Veazie resigned after one season and is now the assistant field hockey coach at Nokomis High School in Newport.
There was controversy surrounding Kristy Veazie’s abrupt resignation three days before the beginning of practice last fall and Margaret Veazie was disappointed with the circumstances that led to her daughter’s resignation and the fact that she didn’t get the opportunity to replace her daughter. Neither Kristy nor Margaret Veazie would comment on the circumstances that led to the resignation.
But Pelotte and Margaret Veazie said that is all behind them now.
“All of us want to go forward. We aren’t dwelling on the past. I want to be a role model for the kids,” said Veazie. “We have a great group of juniors and we want to bring the young kids along. Hopefully, we’ll peek at the end of the season.”
The 25-year-old Burton played for Margaret Veazie at Dexter and graduated from Bangor’s Husson University in 2012 with a degree in business management. She played field hockey at Husson for two seasons before transferring to Coastal Carolina in South Carolina. She returned to Husson after spending one year at Coastal Carolina “because [she] wanted to be closer to [her] family.”
Burton doesn’t have any coaching experience but said she has “thought about coaching off and on since high school. I’m very passionate about it.”
She is ecstatic to be reunited with the 53-year-old Veazie.
“She was like a second mother to me growing up. She was a very good coach and a wonderful role model. I’m honored to be coaching with her,” Burton said, who played field hockey and basketball with Veazie’s daughter, Brittany, and won state championships in each sport.
“It’s a wonderful situation. Working with her is going to be very beneficial to me where I am just beginning,” she said.
“I can’t wait to get started,” Burton added.
The feeling is mutual.
“I’m really excited to be back. Nicci is going to be a good coach. She just needs some experience, and this is the best way to do it. Nicci is a lot like Brittany. She’s a [fierce] competitor,” said Veazie “She is real close to my daughters, so it’s a great situation for all of us.
“I love this program so much, and she is a perfect person to mentor. It’s a big program, and I’m thankful the administration is going to allow me to do both [coach and mentor],” said Veazie.
Pelotte said it is an ideal situation especially considering the Tigers will have a very young team this fall. Veazie said they won’t have any seniors. They will have three juniors and 19 sophomores and freshmen.
“They’ll do a great job,” predicted Pelotte. “This will be a great experience for Margaret and Nicci, for our students and our staff and for the whole school. It’ll have a positive impact. ”