Bangor High School girls basketball coach Jay Kemble has always enjoyed field hockey, but he has never coached it.
That will change this fall.
The 58-year-old Kemble has been named Bangor High School’s field hockey coach, replacing Edythe Dyer.
Dyer went 4-9 this past season in her first year, and her Rams wound up 10th among 12 teams in the Class A North Heal Points standings. Bangor lost to seventh seed Mt. Blue of Farmington 5-0 in the first round of the playoffs.
Kasey Danforth had been the coach the previous 10 seasons, and Bangor went 20-20-2 in her final three regular seasons after an 0-14 campaign in 2016.
“I’m excited about it,” said Kemble. “I enjoy challenges. We have a great group of girls who want to compete on a daily basis. They understand what is necessary to have success.”
He said even though he has never coached field hockey, “coaching is coaching.
“It’s about putting your kids in the best position to succeed,” said the former longtime University of Maine assistant baseball coach.
Kemble said his wife, Karen (Drugge), played field hockey at their alma mater, Mt. Blue High School, and then went on to play at Bates College in Lewiston.
And their son, Peter, who pitched for the University of Maine, had several friends among the UMaine field hockey team.
“We would go up and watch them. I love watching them. They have so much strength and speed,” Kemble said. “I also enjoy watching men’s European field hockey.”
He said field hockey involves characteristics from several other sports and that he has already learned a lot about certain aspects of the game.
He intends to talk to several knowledgeable individuals from the field hockey world to get a better understanding of the sport and the nuances of it.
Kemble has been the head basketball coach for three seasons after serving as the assistant coach. He was also an assistant football coach.
Bangor girls basketball has gone 12-6 in each of the two seasons that surrounded the lost season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2021-22 and ’19-20 seasons, his Rams won their Class AA North quarterfinal games before losing in the semifinals.
One of Kemble’s trademarks is defense and that will carry over to field hockey.
His Bangor basketball team held opponents to an average of 36.6 points per game this past season.
“You have to be able to defend. You have to limit the other team’s scoring opportunities,” said Kemble, who teaches history at the high school. “But our defenders are still going to have to be able to control the ball.”
In addition to field hockey players, he will also seek out athletic girls who want to learn to play field hockey and are willing to put the time and effort in to learn it.
“They won’t have had to have played field hockey for seven or eight years,” said Kemble, who feels he can take their skill sets and transform them into productive field hockey players.
Kemble will coach both the field hockey and basketball teams during the summer.
The Farmington native and three-sports standout at Mt. Blue said he feels confident he can build a culture of success.
“Jay does an outstanding job with our student-athletes,” said Bangor athletic director Steve Vanidestine. “He has a great rapport with them.
“His team will be prepared, play sound defense and play as a team,” Vanidestine added. “He is a positive addition to our field hockey program.”
Kemble will be one of few male field hockey coaches in the state and the state’s most successful field hockey coach, said Skowhegan coach and Maine Sports Hall of Famer Paula Doughty, applauding the hiring of Kemble.
Doughty, who lives in Farmington and has guided Skowhegan to 20 Class A state championships in her 42 years, has known Kemble and his family since he was a youngster.
“It’s wonderful,” said Doughty. “Bangor has a lot of athletes, and he will bring them along. To be a good coach, you have to be a good teacher and his father, Roger, was one of our four sons’ favorite teachers, so I’m sure he’s a good teacher, too.”