The Bangor High School girls lacrosse and softball teams will have new head coaches this spring.
Michael Fagone, a judge and South Portland native, will coach the lacrosse team, and recent Wesleyan University graduate Sophia Sciarappa will be the softball coach.
The 51-year-old Fagone will replace Kaitlin Dolloff, who left to become the assistant women’s lacrosse coach at Husson University in Bangor. She is also the assistant field hockey coach at Husson.
Sciarappa, 23, will take over from Maureen Barron, who moved with her family to South Carolina after one season guiding the Rams.
Fagone and his family moved to the Bangor area in 2015, and he has coached in the Eastern Maine Lacrosse program for several years. The program is for kids from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Sciarappa, a two-time All-NESCAC selection at Wesleyan who was also an All-Region choice last spring, has been working at the Sluggers Baseball and Softball Training Facility in Brewer and has coached at the recreation level back home in Charlton, Massachusetts, since 2020 while also giving individual instruction.
She is an educational technician at Bangor High School.
“I love the fact Michael has been very active in the youth program. That’s a huge advantage. He knows the kids and knows the game,” said Bangor Athletic Director Steve Vanidestine.
“Sophia is energetic and will be a great role model for the players. She can relate to them really well and will be able to demonstrate her skills,” Vanidestine said. “She has an outstanding work ethic.”
Sciarappa was primarily a catcher at Wesleyan where she led the team in several categories last spring including batting average (.439), doubles (10), slugging percentage (.598) and on-base percentage (.520).
“Just being in the softball community in the Bangor area is something I have looked forward to ever since I moved up here and getting to work with the girls is going to be a great experience,” she added. “I have gotten to meet some of them and they’re all great kids. I look forward to seeing the program and expanding it.”
Sciarappa moved to Orono in June because her sister, Olivia, is a student at the University of Maine and she said being able to work at Sluggers has been very beneficial.
“I knew Sluggers had a good reputation in the area and I have been able to network with other softball instructors and players and get really entrenched in the softball community here,” she said.
As for her goals this season, Sciarappa said she wants the softball team to work together as a cohesive unit.
“It isn’t necessarily about looking at the outcomes as our goal but, rather, the process. Working each day to become more of a family and a cohesive unit. If we have that, the work will speak for itself in the game,” she said.
Barron guided the Rams to a 10-6 regular season record and two playoff wins last spring before losing to Messalonskee of Oakland in the Class A North semifinals.
Don Stanhope had led the Rams to a 175-81 regular season record during his 16 seasons at Bangor before stepping down after the 2021 season.
Fagone played football at South Portland High School for Maine Sports Hall of Fame coach John Wolfgram and went on to play two years at Amherst College.
He is looking forward to coaching the Ram girls, who will be part of a cooperative team this season with players from John Bapst Memorial High School.
“I’m excited to work with the players and help grow lacrosse across this part of the state,” Fagone said.
“Lacrosse is still growing in Maine. The room for individual achievement is at its best when the players are working at it as a team.”
Fagone said Wolfgram had a huge influence on him growing up and that he will apply some of Wolfgram’s philosophies to his team, including building a strong feeder program.
He is hoping to have enough players to have both a varsity and junior varsity team.
“That will give some girls a ton of more reps and that’s how they learn,” he said.
Fagone’s daughter, Izzy, is a freshman lacrosse player at John Bapst but she won’t be able to play this year due to an injury.
It was his daughter’s passion for the game that got him involved in it.
She began playing as part of Bangor’s Parks and Recreation’s youth program in third or fourth grade, Fagone said. He got into coaching and has a Level 1 certification.
He praised Dolloff for the work she did.
She guided the Rams to their first playoff berth in their four-year existence last spring and they won their first playoff game 19-11 over Edward Little of Auburn before losing in the quarterfinals to Falmouth 15-0.
They finished 4-10 after going 3-9 the previous year and 0-12 in each of their first two seasons.
“Kaitlin did a real good job with them. I’m looking forward to building and growing off her great work,” Fagone said.