Garett Sherman, UMFK athletic director Credit: Courtesy of University of Maine at Fort Kent

Garett Sherman had a memorable experience while living in Maine for the first time last year.

He was an assistant basketball coach for the University of Maine women’s team that captured its first America East tournament title since 2004.

Now he hopes to help create more memories 179 miles north of Orono as the new athletic director at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

“I had been interested in taking an athletic director’s role since getting a taste of it. I also got a little taste of it while coaching. I always thought it was something I might be interested in doing full time,” Sherman said.

Sherman replaces Bill Ashby, who resigned after 12 years as the AD and men’s soccer coach to become the director of international admissions and transfers at Unity College.

Sherman, a native of Cumberland, Maryland, has an extensive background as the basketball coach of the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Allegheny College of Maryland and Gordon State College of Georgia, and the women’s program at Western Wyoming Community College.

He served as an assistant athletic director at Gordon State and was the director of games management at Western Wyoming.

UMFK has women’s and men’s basketball and soccer, women’s volleyball, and track and field for men and women. They also have men’s tennis.

“[Sherman has] extensive experience in coaching at universities large and small. He is very student-focused, which was a priority,” UMFK President John Short said in a release.

Sherman said his top priority at UMFK is, “trying to find what level and what league we can be most successful in, and what makes the most sense for us.”

UMFK previously was an NAIA Division II school but wasn’t in a conference. The Bengals have competed under the umbrella of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, which is composed of 81 small colleges.

UMFK will remain in the USCAA this year but won’t be affiliated with the NAIA. They have put together a committee to examine the different options: NAIA, NCAA Division III and NCAA Division II.

UMFK has athletic scholarships which aren’t allowed at the NCAA Division III level.

“The hope is that we can give ourselves an identity and get into a conference. Geographically, we’re an outlier, so we have to find a conference that makes sense travel-wise,” Sherman said.

He stressed the need for UMFK athletes to have the ability to compete for a championship and to be able to schedule a significant number of home games.

Sherman, a graduate of Frostburg State University in Maryland, also has a masters from the institution. He said his year coaching at UMaine was memorable.

“It was an incredible experience,” Sherman said. “I was able to see how things are done at the highest level. There are so many little things that get done at the Division I level. It’s something for us to aspire to here.”

Sherman, wife Ayoola and their three children are enjoying Fort Kent already.

“It’s a beautiful town and all the people are super friendly,” said Sherman, who has also coached soccer.

USM names soccer coach

Former University of Southern Maine soccer player Seth Benjamin has been named the new women’s soccer coach at his alma mater.

Benjamin replaces Lisa Petruccelli, who resigned to pursue other opportunities.

He inherits a program that has gone 21-66-4 the past five seasons, including a 3-31-1 record in Little East play.

Benjamin most recently served for four seasons as head coach of the men’s soccer program at the New Hampton School in New Hampton, New Hampshire. He previously was the head coach of the women’s soccer and lacrosse teams at Green Mountain College in Vermont, and was an assistant women’s soccer coach at the University of Vermont.

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