Chris Kempton’s football coaching career has included two stops in places like Lewiston, Waterville and Winthrop. Now he’s back in the SMAA after being hired by Scarborough High School last week.

Kempton, most recently an assistant at Bates, last coached in the SMAA as an assistant with Lewiston High School when the Blue Devils were still a part of the the conference more than a decade ago. His last game as Skip Capone’s defensive coordinator was a quarterfinal playoff loss to Biddeford.

“And we’re opening with Biddeford next season,” Kempton noted.

He replaces Eric Klein, who had coached the Red Storm for the four years since they moved up to Class A after winning the Class B state title in 2002.

The program has struggled since the promotion, never making the playoffs and bottoming out at 0-8 last year. But Kempton said he was eager to get back into high school coaching, and Scarborough was the right place.

“It had to be a place that had a lot of the pieces in place, and we have that here at Scarborough,” he said.

Those pieces include a rapidly rising enrollment, with about 1,100 at the high school and over 800 at the middle school, state-of-the-art facilities including a weight room, turf field and lights, support from boosters and administrators, and a strong feeder program highlighted by a middle school varsity team that has a veteran coaching staff and won its league last year.

“We’ve got a lot of talented players coming up through and we’re getting into the weight room,” Kempton said. “They’re hungry, they’re excited and enthusiastic. They’re doing all of the things we’re asking them to do right now.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to get someone of Chris’ background, character and enthusiasm,” said Scarborough athletic director Frank Spencer, who is retiring after the school year. “He brings everything to the table that I feel is necessary to redeem the program.”

Kempton has already hired his staff, which includes former Edward Little defensive coordinator Dave Sterling. Kempton plans on serving as his own defensive coordinator for a year to get his system fully implemented. Sterling will coach defensive backs and wide receivers for a year before taking over the defensive play-calling duties, Kempton said.

Former Westbrook head coach Jason McLeod will serve as offensive coordinator.

This is the Winthrop native’s third stop as a high school head coach. He had two stints at his alma mater, Winthrop High School, going 25-13 with one Western C title in his first incarnation from 1992-96 and 1-8 when he returned in 2003. He spent one season at Lewiston and briefly led an upstart Maranacook program before joining Tom Austin’s staff at Colby College as a defensive assistant. After the one season back at Winthrop, he returned to Colby for a year before joining Mark Harriman’s staff at Bates last year as defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator. He said he will continue with Bates through the spring before taking a full-time job as an Ed. Tech III at Scarborough.

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