Kelly O’Leary, a two-time Eastern Maine Class D all-tournament selection at Allagash High School, has been named to replace Ronnie Pelletier as the girls basketball coach at Fort Kent High School.
He was approved by the MSAD 27 school board Friday night.
Pelletier resigned this summer after one season because of a personal family issue that prevented him from continuing, according to Fort Kent athletic director Eric Werntgen.
“I’m very excited about [the new job],” said O’Leary. “I’m going to try to build the program on old-school basketball…up-tempo, run-and-gun, get a lot of girls involved and create excitement to put people back in the stands.”
He added that he will also stress defense, saying, “most of my offense will be predicated off defense.”
He also said that Fort Kent is a “soccer-skiing community” but he hopes to change the culture so basketball can have its place of prominence along with the soccer and ski teams.
The school board approved dual-sport participation in the spring and that could open the door for O’Leary to get more athletes involved in his program.
Dual sport participation means student-athletes can participate in two sports during the same sports season such as skiing and basketball.
“But we’ve got to get all of the coaches on board,” said O’Leary.
O’Leary graduated from Allagash High School in 1986 and was the valedictorian.
He led the Bobcats to four postseason appearances and played in the McDonald’s Senior All-Star game before going on to play at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
He graduated from the University of Maine at Fort Kent Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
He has coached at various levels in the Aroostook Youth Basketball League the past eight years.
O’Leary spent nine seasons as the club pro and manager of the Fort Kent Golf Club. He was also on the MSAD 27 school board for the past nine years.
O’Leary runs a heating, ventilation and air conditioning business and resides in Wallagrass with his wife, Joanne, son Kale, and daughters, Jordan and Kassidy.
Jordan will be a sophomore on his team this winter.
O’Leary will inherit a team that went 2-16 last winter and finished 13th among 16 teams in Eastern Maine Class C.