Susan Robbins was recently hired as the athletic director at Gray-New Gloucester. Submitted photo

Susan Robbins was looking for a change.

And, she said, “new challenge.”

In the athletic department at Gray-New Gloucester and MSAD 15 schools, she got just that.

Robbins, who stepped down as athletic director at Yarmouth this spring after 14 years, took over as the same post at Gray-New Gloucester on Monday.

She replaces Scott Walker, who left the position after two years to pursue an assistant principal position elsewhere.

Yarmouth’s teams saw plenty of success during Robbins’ tenure, but she admitted to feeling “a little burnt out,” and with the program “a lot better-off” than when she got there she “was ready for a new challenge.”

“I really think that the Gray-New Gloucester communities can benefit from my experience,” Robbins said.

That experience includes a previous stop at Poland Regional High School, where she was the first athletic director, when the school first opened. She’s also always been a part of the Western Maine Conference, to which Gray-New Gloucester teams belong in most sports.

And, in addition to the team success she’s oversaw, Robbins has garnered personal achievements as well.

“She has been the recipient of the Maine Athletic Director of the Year Award and the National Athletic Administrators’ Association Distinguished Service Award. All of these credentials impressed our interview committee,” said Gray-New Gloucester superintendent Craig King, who added, “We were very interested in her because of her reputation as an experienced and well-regarded athletic administrator at both the state and national level.”

Like Walker, Robbins said she too was looking into becoming an assistant principal after deciding to retire from Yarmouth. But then the Gray-New Gloucester position opened up.

“When it did, I was intrigued,” she said.

Then, Robbins said, “When I was here (for the interview), it felt like home instantly, just with the warmness of the people and the welcoming community. And it’s been that way ever since, so I’m really pleased with the decision.”

That interview process included not only King, but also various principals in the school district, coaches, parents, boosters and students.

“I feel like the process was very well-done,” she said.

Robbins said she hopes to bring stability to the athletic department, “because I’m not looking to go anywhere in the next couple years.”

To get more acquainted with her new school’s community, Robbins has already set up meetings with coaches, sent out a survey to coaches and boosters, and in her first week on the job is planning to send out another survey to the communities of Gray and New Gloucester.

Her first week on the job also includes starting the process of hiring a new boys soccer coach to replace Andy Higgins, who incidentally left Gray-NG for Yarmouth to be its girls soccer coach.

Though it’s only the first few days of July, Robbins is already looking toward the end of August, when fall sports preseason begins, and beyond — “Pretty soon we’ll be working on basketball schedules,” she said.

Robbins said one thing that appealed to her about Gray-New Gloucester was all the fan support she witnessed when Patriots teams would travel to Yarmouth for road games, saying that Gray-New Gloucester “always had the biggest crowd support.”

“People get really excited about it, so that’s something that I want to be a part of,” she said.

King is also excited to have Robbins be a part of the district.

“We think she will do well here because, as a professional, she is committed to quality athletic programming for students and views athletics as an important component of the total school experience,” he said.

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