For the second time this summer, the St. Dom’s girls’ basketball team has a new varsity head coach.

Becky Roak recently resigned to take a position at Southern Maine Community College. Paul Rheaume was hired to replace her. Rheaume had been the JV coach the last two years and was slated to be Roak’s assistant this year.

“Sometimes opportunities show up in strange ways,” said Rheaume.

Roak was hired earlier in the summer to replace Chet Lenfestey, who had coached the Saints for three seasons. Roak was named the assistant director of athletics and recreation and will be the women’s basketball coach at SMCC.

“It was disappointing,” said Lee Hixon, the St. Dom’s athletic director. “Becky was set to be our girls’ coach. I had heard rumors that she was applying elsewhere, and I called her to speak with her. She said she wasn’t.”

Soon after, Roak told Hixon that she was going to speak with SMCC about its opening. Three days later, Roak resigned.

“She’s so impressive,” said Hixon. “She interviews very well. She’s impressive with her X’s and O’s. She would have been a great asset to our program.”

The Portland native and graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington had coached at Chowan College and was a women’s basketball intern at Old Dominion University, where she received her master’s degree. She also coached at the University of Maine at Machias.

Her departure was unexpected, but it didn’t take long to find a replacement. Rheaume makes for a smooth transition. He is familiar with the players and ran the summer program.

“I know the kids,” said Rheaume. “I’ve been here the last two years and some of the girls I coached at St. Mary’s in Augusta.”

Rheaume coached at St. Mary’s for seven years before coming to St. Dom’s. He said it was an easy transition for him going to a higher level, and he’s anxious to see the Saints move up the ladder in Western C. The Saints went 36-18 during Lenfestey’s three years, including 1-3 in the playoffs. The Saints earned their first trip to the Western C quarterfinals since 1985 two years ago.

“I’ve been there two years, and I ran the whole summer program and I ran a tough program,” said Rheaume. “I got some schools that they don’t normally play against. I wanted to show them that we could compete against those teams.”

Rheaume says he’ll play a defense-oriented game and have his team prepped to buck the trend of MVC teams dominating in Western C. Western Maine Conference teams are 15-47 overall and 11-31 at Augusta against MVC teams in the last 17 years.

“I think you’re going to see St. Dom’s be a lot more competitive,” he said. “We have a lot of speed. I’m going to use our speed and an in-your-face defense. I got the kids already playing that way. That’s how the MVC teams play. If we make it to the Civic Center, you have to face those teams, and I want them to be ready.”

His first order of business now is to hire new assistants. The school is posting openings for a JV and freshman coach. Though he wasn’t expecting to head the varsity when coaching the team this summer, he’s excited about the opportunity ahead. The Saints graduated seven seniors but still has a promising young group returning.

“I can’t wait until we start in November,” he said.

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