This week’s Alumni Spotlight shines on Bill Ashby, formerly of Lubec, who is the Athletic Director and Men’s Soccer Coach at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Bill graduated from UMM in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.
Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now:
I serve the University of Maine Fort Kent as its Athletic Director and Men’s Soccer Coach. I also teach several business and physical education classes for UMFK. This past fall soccer season was my 31st as a college head coach, in which my UMFK men’s soccer team won its 2ndUSCAA National Championship. After starting my coaching career at UMM, I moved on to Husson College for three years and Maine Maritime for another six years. After MMA, Pam and I moved out of state for the next eight years. I coached at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota for four years, then we moved to Kentucky and worked for Brescia University where I held a four year term as Brescia’s Athletic Director and Soccer Coach. During our time out of state Pam and I started a family. Being Mainers, we both wanted to raise our children in Maine, fortunately the University of Maine at Fort Kent was looking for an Athletic Director/Men’s Soccer Coach! This will be my 10th season as UMFK’s AD and soccer coach. My men’s teams have won 390 games and I have been selected as a coach of the year 16 times. I also hold the record for most wins as a soccer coach at Maine Maritime Academy (64 wins), University of Mary (58 wins), Brescia University (50 wins) and UMFK (183 wins). It has given me great joy knowing over 20 of my players have gone on to becomes professional soccer coaches at the college, Major League Soccer and U.S. National Team levels!
What is the most valuable thing you learned while at UMM?
UMM gave me the opportunity to learn my career via on the job training. My path as a college coach was atypical. I started at UMM in the fall of 1981 as a student/athlete. During the fall semester, after the soccer season I, suffered a knee injury while working construction. For the next 2.5 years I took classes at several colleges, rehabbed my knee, and started my soccer coach education by working on my soccer coaching licenses. I also had the opportunity to coach high school soccer at Lawrence High School in Fairfield, Maine. In the fall of 1984 my knee was healed and I was ready to continue my education at UMM. UMM was in need of a soccer coach at this time and I had made my decision to become a soccer coach. Opportunity met need and I became the head soccer coach at UMM!
Do you have any advice for current students at UMM?
My advice to current UMM students is to enjoy your journey at UMM. It will end all too quickly. Four years will go by in a flash. Explore and try new things, get out of your comfort zone and expand your experiences. Work on making lifelong friends. The friends you make now will become your most valuable resource as you move forward in life and your career. Take a class that is outside of your main interest, it has been my experience these classes often open doors of opportunity! Learn the life lessons UMM will teach you. Learn how to be on time, learn how to be disciplined in your school work, and learn to take accountability and responsibility for your actions and maybe more importantly, your inactions.
How did your time at UMM prepare you for what you are doing now?
My time at UMM provided me with a solid base to build my career. My educational degree work along with the practical experience of being able to hone my skills as a college coach, athletic administrator and leader gave me the tools I needed to advance and be successful in a highly competitive field.
How has UMM made a positive impact on your life?
The people of UMM, teachers, administration, and staff took personal interest in me as a person and cared about my success as a student. I hope and suspect the same is true for today’s students at UMM. UMM gave me the opportunity to experiment in how to be successful, the okay to push my envelope of ability, sometimes exceeding my capabilities. I often stumbled, sometimes I fell, but there was always an opportunity to get up and try again. This is the model of success UMM helped me establish, so far it has worked pretty well!