Spencer Emerson is only 31 but he’s been coaching football since 2012, including assistant coaching roles at colleges with strong academic reputations.

Spencer Emerson

So he knew enough to do his own due diligence before saying yes to the offer to become Falmouth High’s new varsity football coach. The job had opened because John Fitzsimmons, the Navigators’ coach since 2007, resigned after months of pressure from parents, and then players, calling for his removal.

“It was definitely investigated by me and I asked a lot of questions with people close to the situation. I asked questions of James Coffey, the athletic director, who was there and was part of the (football) staff,” Emerson said. “Frankly, it’s a situation that happened and I’m someone who tries to focus on the future, not the past.

“At the end of the day, the question was, ‘Is this a place I can come, be myself, and be successful?’ And the answer is yes.”

Emerson was announced as Falmouth’s varsity football coach in a school news release on Wednesday.

Emerson got his coaching start as an undergraduate video assistant at the University of Maine from 2012-15. He was the head coach at Poland Regional High in 2018 and 2019, and been an assistant coach at Bates College, Georgetown University, and the past two seasons at the University of Chicago, where he was the offensive coordinator for a team that went 6-4 and averaged 32.5 points and 402.5 yards of total offense in 2023.


Fitzsimmons resigned Jan. 25, a day after a petition seeking his removal – signed by 22 of the 30 players on the 2023 team – was presented to the Falmouth School Board.

Last season Falmouth was 2-6, including forfeiting a game against Portland because of a lack of healthy players. The forfeit made the Navigators ineligible for the Class B North playoffs. Only two seniors were on the 2023 roster and one of the chief criticisms of Fitzsimmons was that he was not retaining upperclassmen.

“I pride myself on building relationships with staff members, administrators and players,” Emerson said.

Getting more students involved in football starts, “with making sure they understand who I am and what I stand for,” Emerson said. “I’m somebody who is going to be present, visible and approachable.”

He said it will also be imperative to make football an enjoyable experience.

The Falmouth news release stated that “Emerson’s appointment signals a new era for the Falmouth football program, as he brings with him a commitment to excellence and a passion for cultivating a winning culture both on and off the field.”

A 2011 graduate of Edward Little High in Auburn, Emerson played one semester of college football at Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts, then transferred to the University of Maine. He said he realized his own football talents would not translate to the higher level “and I figured it made more sense to lean into what I really wanted to do, which was coaching,” he said.

After the 2023 season at the University of Chicago, Emerson said he decided to stop trying to climb the college coaching ladder and find more work-life balance. In January he was hired as the assistant director of undergraduate admissions at the University of New England.

A 2016 graduate of the University of Maine, Emerson has a master’s degree in athletic administration from Southern New Hampshire University.

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