UMF replaces Campbell as track, cross country coach

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University of Maine at Farmington cross country coach Dan Campbell checks the course during the North Atlantic Conference cross country championships in Farmington last year. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)

University of Maine at Farmington interim cross country and track and field head coach Dan Campbell has been replaced by Joe DiSalvo, who was a member of St. Joseph’s College’s coaching staff.

Campbell, who had a long, distinguished career as a high school coach, has been coaching the Beavers’ cross country and track teams since Feb. 2016 before DiSalvo was named the new skipper.

“I can say coach Campbell had been filling an extended interim position and we are sincerely appreciative of his efforts in this capacity,” UMF athletic director Julie Davis said. “Regarding coach DiSalvo, we were impressed with his blend of skills and experiences in collegiate coaching, exercise science and student development.

“He did an excellent job connecting with every constituent group, impressing us with his authenticity and ability to excel at every aspect of the position.

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“We welcome coach DiSalvo to the UMF team. We are confident that the rich experience and expertise he brings to our department and university will continue to build our programs and develop our student-athletes holistically.”

A rewarding finale

For Campbell, leaving UMF concludes a 36-year career run as a high school and college coach.

“After 35-36 years, it (coaching) is finally over,” Campbell said. “Finished it at my alma mater with great performances and friendships.

“I can’t ask for anything better than to finish at my alma mater and give them a team that I can be proud of and walk away from and say that I was a piece of building that program.”

During his tenure at UMF, Campbell was named women’s cross country coach of the year and the Beavers collected a men’s and women’s rookie of the year awards.

“Last year, I was coach of the year, cross country women, and we had rookie of the year for men and rookie of year for women for cross country,” Campbell said. “Outdoor track, the following spring, we came in second in the NACs (North Atlantic Conference). We have only been in the NAC for three years.

“So when I gook over the program, that was the first year we were in the NCAA, and this year, which was fantastic, first year we had when I was there we had one person make the New England teams in Division III.

“Last year, we had two people, and this year we had four people, and out of those four people, two of them were ranked in the top 10 of their particular event. Olivia Ridley came in third in the 10,000 and Ethan Solis from Lewiston, Maine, came in 10th in the 400.”

Campbell said there are “great runners” coming in thanks a strong recruiting year at UMF.

Campbell is an Edward Little High School graduate and remains a substance abuse counselor in Portland.

That means is Campbell will continue to coach, but in a different capacity.

“Coaching is a metaphor,” he said. “You never stop coaching. On an athletic point of view, I am basically through coaching. I say that now, but I have no desire to go looking …

“I need to springboard my other career, which I learned to love as much as in working with people in a counseling mode for substance abuse. I have a job that is presently at Liberty Bay Recovery Center (in Portland). It is a brand new rehabilitation center. It is a great place.

“It is the model I was looking for and I finally found it. So my energies will always be working with people and doing God’s work. That’s what I do.”

Campbell is grateful to Edward Little High School and the community of Auburn, where he coached for years. He will always think of his coaching stint at UMF as a rewarding opportunity.

“See ya later Beavers,” Campbell said.

Permission to come aboard

According to a UMF news release: “Joseph DiSalvo is a graduate of Saint Joseph’s College where he earned a B.S. in exercise science. He was recognized on the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) All-Academic Team and was also part of the GNAC Sportsmanship Team. He served as captain of both the cross country team and track and field teams for three years.”

This is DiSalvo’s first head coaching job, and he is looking forward to taking the Beavers to a new level.

“UMF has cross country and track and field programs that have really grown in the past, especially with the track and field program being on the newer side — now a varsity sport for track and field,” DiSalvo said. “To see that grow over the years, it is pretty exciting.

“Farmington is a great college town, both to study as a student and train. There is a couple of exciting reasons there.

“I am very grateful to be selected to lead the cross country and track and field programs here at UMF. Farmington is a special place, and I am truly excited for the road ahead.”

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