Breianna Tocci, who played field hockey at Bangor High School under former University of Maryland field hockey coach Sue Tyler, has been approved as the new field hockey coach at Orono High School.
Tocci will replace legendary coach Dodi Saucier, who retired after coaching the Red Riots for 20 seasons during two different stints.
Saucier had also coached at Old Town High School.
Tocci, a recent graduate of the University of Maine with a degree in kinesiology and physical education, will be one of the youngest coaches in the state at age 23.
She was one of four applicants for the position, according to Orono High athletic director Mike Archer.
She will be assisted by former Orono High School standout and Bryant University player Jillian Tuell.
Tocci assisted Saucier last fall and also coached the middle school team.
Orono had 21 freshmen and sophomores on its 30-player roster last fall and went 3-11. But six of the losses were by one goal. The Riots had gone 9-3-2 in 2013.
Saucier coached the Red Riots to a state Class C championship in 1990.
“She’s an up-and-coming young field hockey coach. Sarah Estes did an outstanding job at Old Town and Bre is in the same mold,” said Archer.
“Any time you can get really good female role models involved in coaching, it’s invaluable,” said Archer, who is also excited to have Tuell on board.
“They’re going to be a great combination for our kids,” said Archer.
Tocci said she was “really excited.”
“It’s such an honor to take over a program that has so much potential,” said Tocci. “We have a real young team. They all have great attitudes. They’re very dedicated athletes.
“My hope is to create an environment that fosters learning and that they will take away [field hockey] skills and life assets as well,” said Tocci. “I’d really like them to learn how to set goals to not only be better field hockey players but better people as well.”
Tocci played three years of varsity field hockey for Tyler, who guided the University of Maryland to an NCAA championship in 1987. She is also a former University of Maine athletic director.
“It was definitely awesome to learn from Sue,” said Tocci. “I received the highest level of education most kids wouldn’t get. She helped me learn strategy as well as skill [development].”
Tocci said she also learned a great deal from Saucier last fall.
“Sue and Dodi had two very different kinds of coaching styles, but both worked phenomenally,” said Tocci.
Tocci is looking forward to working with Tuell beginning with the summer program and she wants to establish some summer clinics “to get more kids playing.”
Tocci will be coaching her younger sister, Becky, who will be a sophomore.
“She’s just another athlete. I’m not going to treat her any differently,” she said.