Cody Tompkins, left, goes over a play with his Central Aroostook girls basketball team during a 2017 game. Tompkins was hired May 9 as the new boys' soccer coach at Fort Fairfield. Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

Fort Fairfield High School has filled its vacant boys basketball and boys soccer coaching positions.

Vaughn McLaughlin has been named to replace Logan McLaughlin (no relation) as the Tigers’ boys varsity basketball coach, according to Fort Fairfield athletic administrator Tim Watt, while Cody Tompkins is the new boys varsity soccer coach, replacing John Ala.

Vaughn McLaughlin, the veteran band director and fine arts teacher at Caribou High School, has been a longtime volunteer assistant coach under Larry Gardner at Fort Fairfield, most recently with the girls’ basketball program but also when Gardner was with the boys program.

He also has coached junior varsity boys basketball and eighth-grade girls basketball and is currently the varsity softball coach at Fort Fairfield High School.

“Vaughn has been involved with coaching basketball for a long time and brings with him a wealth of knowledge,” said Watt in an email. “He is very strong with fundamentals and will be a great addition to our staff.”

Logan McLaughlin’s Fort Fairfield teams compiled a 69-15 record during his four-year tenure as boys basketball coach.

The Tigers captured their first regional championship since 1988 in McLaughlin’s first season, defeating top-seeded Washburn 55-41 to capture the Eastern D crown.

Fort Fairfield moved up to Class C when the state expanded from four to five classes in high school basketball beginning with the 2015-2016 season, and since then the Tigers have finished each of the last three seasons ranked second in the final Class C North Heal Points.

Fort Fairfield also reached the regional championship game in both 2017 and 2018 before being eliminated by top-ranked and three-time defending state champion George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill.

Tompkins comes to Fort Fairfield with four years of high school soccer coaching experience, one year as an assistant with the Easton boys varsity team and three years as head coach at Central Aroostook of Mars Hill.

Tompkins, who works as human resources director at Northern Lighthouse, Inc., also has basketball coaching experience at Hodgdon, Ashland and Central Aroostook.

Ala coached the Fort Fairfield boys soccer team for 14 years but now is head coach of the school’s girls soccer program.

The Fort Fairfield boys have been one of the top teams in Class D North in recent years, winning the state championship in 2015 and advancing to the regional final again in 2016.

The Tigers reached the Class D North semifinals last fall before dropping a 1-0 decision to Bangor Christian, the eventual state champion.

“He has a very good understanding of the game of soccer and will also be a great addition to our staff,” said Watt.

Freeport holds grand opening for Benoit Samuelson track complex

Grand opening ceremonies for the Joan Benoit Samuelson Track & Field facility were set for Friday afternoon at Freeport High School.

The event was scheduled to take place just before the school hosts its first-ever home track and field meet against Lake Region of Naples, Old Orchard Beach and Yarmouth.

The ceremony was set to include remarks by Benoit Samuelson, a Freeport resident and the inaugural Olympic women’s marathon gold medalist in 1984, as well as the inaugural ‘Jog with Joanie’ around the track for all community members who wished to participate.

The $4.5 million project began as a community fundraising effort in 2015, with Nike, Inc. making a lead donation of $1.3 million on behalf of Benoit Samuelson, a Nike athlete and member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, National Distance Running Hall of Fame, National Track and Field Hall of Fame, and the USATF Masters Hall of Fame.

The complex plan was approved by a referendum of voters in Durham, Freeport and Pownal, the three towns that make up Regional School Unit 5.

The LED-lighted facility includes an eight-lane all-weather track around a multipurpose, artificial-turf field that will be home to Freeport’s field hockey, football, lacrosse and soccer teams.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...