Vachon signs four-year head coaching contract with UMaine
Amy Vachon, whose squad recently captured the America East regular season title, has signed a four-year contract with the University of Maine to be head coach of the women’s basketball team, effective March 1.
Vachon has led the team since Jan. 6, 2017, when she took over head coaching duties after it was announced that coach Richard Barron would be taking an extended medical leave. This season, she served as interim head coach.
Vachon, an alumna, joined the UMaine staff as an assistant coach in May 2011 and also served as recruiting coordinator for the Black Bears. She was promoted to associate head coach in May 2016, and named interim head coach April 5, 2017.
“Amy has done an outstanding job during the last 15 months, and she has earned the opportunity to be the permanent head coach of the women’s basketball team,” says UMaine Director of Athletics Karlton Creech. “After taking over the program under adverse conditions, Amy led our student-athletes to continued success academically and athletically. The championship-level performance of the program under Amy’s leadership has been more than impressive. I would also like to thank and congratulate the entire women’s basketball coaching and support staff whose contributions are vital to the success of the program.”
In her first full season at the helm, Vachon has guided the Black Bears to a 20–9 overall mark. Maine finished the campaign as the America East regular season champions, completing their conference slate at 13–3 capped by a championship clinching, 74–69 overtime victory against UAlbany.
Last season under her guidance, the Black Bears went 11–7, along the way defeating No. 1 New Hampshire to earn a trip to the America East title game.
“Amy has provided amazing leadership for women’s basketball, resulting this year in a successful season that has rocked the Cross Center,” says UMaine President Susan J. Hunter. “She has been a tremendous asset to the program that she knows so well. It’s wonderful to see such a talented coach take her team to this level of achievement in America East and in the classroom. This is a proud moment for Maine and Black Bear Nation looks forward to the success of women’s basketball under Amy’s leadership.”
Barron says he’s thrilled that Vachon has been named the head coach for women’s basketball at UMaine.
“The tremendous success that the program has experienced over the past seven years can be directly attributed to Amy’s efforts, capped by the incredible achievement of a regular season championship in her first full year at the helm,” Barron says. “UMaine has won 15 conference championships and Amy has played or coached on nearly half of those teams. She epitomizes what UMaine women’s basketball is all about. I am so happy for her, for the players and for the staff. Congratulations Amy.”
Vachon says she is “very thankful for the opportunity to continue serving as the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Maine.”
“I am very aware of the prestige this position has and will do everything I can to help continue the great history of success that UMaine women’s basketball has had on the court, in the classroom and in the community,” Vachon says. “I am so grateful to President Hunter and Karlton Creech for their support and the faith they have showed in me throughout the years. Words cannot express my gratitude to our players and staff. This opportunity would never be possible without their commitment and hard work.
“Finally, I want to thank Coach Barron. Seven years ago, he took a chance on me and I will forever be appreciative,” says Vachon. “I have learned so much from him and he is not only a mentor to me, but also a tremendous friend.
“Black Bear Nation, you are the best fans around. I look forward to seeing you out in full force this weekend in Portland at the America East Tournament.”
Vachon’s head coach salary will be $120,000 a year, with a $5,000 increase annually beginning at the start of the second year.
Prior to joining the UMaine staff, Vachon was the head girls’ basketball coach at Catherine McAuley High School, guiding the squad to the 2011 Maine Class A State Championship.
Vachon was a two-year captain for the UMaine women’s basketball team and led the Black Bears to four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances. She was a member of the 1999 team that knocked off Stanford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. While Vachon played at UMaine, the Black Bears compiled a four-year record of 87–35, including a 61–11 record in conference play. She was a key player for the Black Bears when they captured back-to-back America East Championships in 1996–97 and 1997–98. Vachon was named to the America East All-Tournament Team in 1999.
Vachon, who was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2016, holds UMaine records for the most assists in a season, with 234. She also holds the UMaine and America East record for assists in a career, with 759. When hired in 2011, she ranked 22nd all-time in NCAA history in career assists.
Vachon is the daughter of former Cony High School girls basketball coach Paul Vachon. At Cony, she played on two-state championships teams, was a four-year All-State Basketball selection and a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year. In 1996, she was named Miss Maine Basketball and the High School Athlete of the Year.
Vachon excelled in the classroom and knows the demands of Division I student-athletes. At UMaine, she was selected to the All-Maine Women Honor Society and made the dean’s list and the America East All-Conference Academic Honor Roll. She was a Maine Scholar-Athlete Award winner and a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Board.
Vachon graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2000 with a degree in elementary education. In 2002, she earned her Master’s of Education in school counseling at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.