This fall, Robenson Saintard will be running out onto the football field as a head coach for the first time as the new head coach of the Hampden Broncos.
Saintard, who played four years of football at Husson as a wide receiver, began his coaching career at Orono High School as first the defensive backs and wide receivers coach before spending this past season as the team’s defensive coordinator.
He’d been working on his pitch to become a head coach for weeks, even before the Hampden opportunity became a possibility.
“I am very excited,” Saintard said. “Very, very excited. I have been working for a month, month and a half now. Since I realized this would be a possibility. At first I was just working off hypotheticals on what I could do and then it became a reality and we got to work.”
Saintard takes over a Hampden squad that went 2-6 in Class C North during the 2022 season. The program is a work in progress, but Saintard has been there before, having coached Orono through a junior varsity schedule in 2019 due to low numbers in the program.
After the COVID-dampened season in 2020, Orono joined eight-player football in 2021 and in 2022, with Saintard in charge of the defense, the Riots (7-4) reached the eight-player Small School state championship game, losing to Old Orchard Beach 46-22.
Hampden’s wins last season came against Maine Central Institute and, in the final game of the year, Old Town.
At Husson, Saintard was a successful receiver, making all-conference teams as a receiver twice in his career. He believes his youth and ability to connect with student athletes will be a strength. Saintard graduated Husson in 2018.
“For me, the biggest thing I learned at Orono is building relationships,” Saintard said. “I think building relationships with the athletes is a huge thing because a lot of times kids don’t want to play for a coach that doesn’t care for them or is there for any other reason other than them.”
Saintard has been thinking about what kinds of schemes and philosophies he wants to instill in the Hampden program.
“Defensively, we want to be fast, physical, and fly around and have fun playing the game,” Saintard said. “Offensively, we want to use our strengths. I have met a few kids but I still need to meet all of them. We want to work with our strength, though, and take the route that will be most beneficial with what the kids do best.”