Samantha Allen
Samantha Allen
Title: Head Women's Basketball Coach
Phone: (207) 780-5475
Previous College: Colby '10, Smith '12

Samantha Allen was named head coach of the storied University of Southern Maine women's basketball program in the spring of 2015 following an exhaustive national search.  After spending a year on the sidelines at Southern Maine, Allen assumed control of the Huskies during the 2015-2016 season.  Allen's first season was a success as she led USM to a home play off berth and had three of her student-athletes earn post-season honors. 

In addition to her coaching duties, Allen serves as the Advisor to the University of Southern Maine Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and teaches the NCAA Champs/LifeSkills Course. 

Upon the announcement of Allen's appointment as head coach of the women's basketball program, long-time USM Director of Athletics Al Bean said, "I'm very pleased to welcome Samantha Allen to USM as the next head coach of the women's basketball program.  Since completing her outstanding collegiate playing career at Colby College, Sam has been preparing herself to become a head coach at the college level.  Her stops along the way, at Smith College, the University of Vermont, and this past year, working directly with veteran mentor Gary Fifield, have prepared her very well to take the next step professionally."

Bean added, "Samantha has tremendous knowledge of the game, is an excellent teacher and motivator and is totally committed to developing her craft.  She has very close family ties to the University of Southern Maine and fully understands the magnitude of her new role as head coach.  I look forward to working closely with Sam and have great confidence in her abilities to be an effective leader and make a positive difference for our student-athletes.   It's my distinct pleasure to welcome Sam to the USM staff."

Allen, who has five seasons of collegiate coaching experience including two seasons with Division I University of Vermont, replaced USM's long-time legendary coach Gary Fifield who retired after 27 seasons with the Huskies.  

"I am excited and honored to join the University of Southern Maine family," said Allen of her appointment.  "The Huskies' women's basketball program has been a masterpiece of success under Coach Fifield's 27 seasons on the sidelines. It has been such an asset to work with Coach Fifield  and to learn from such a knowledgeable basketball mind.  I am humbled to follow such a remarkable and well-respected leader and I am exhilarated to craft a new era and continue to develop strong, intelligent and hard-working women.  I am excited for the opportunity to infuse my spirit throughout the program and to inspire these dedicated women to succeed on the court, in the classroom and within the community and to carry on the tradition of excellence that Huskies' women's basketball has created."

Allen served as the Huskies' lead assistant during the 2014-2015 season. and as the program's recruiting coordinator.  Prior to her 2014-2015 season with the Huskies, Allen was the Director of Basketball Operations from 2012-2014 with the Division I University of Vermont Catamounts. Allen also had two seasons on the sidelines as an assistant coach with the Smith College Pioneers during the 2010-2012 seasons. 

While with the Catamounts, Allen implemented new recruiting tactics that resulted in a pair of America East All-Rookie team selections and she was a member of the coaching staff that helped UVM win its first America East playoff game in three seasons. 

Allen's successful recruiting tactics took hold during her two seasons with the Smith College Pioneers.  While in charge of the Pioneer's recruiting program, Allen brought in and helped develop two NEWMAC Rookie of the Year selections, a pair of NEWBA All-Region student-athletes a trio of all-conference athletes and one DIII Preseason All-American.  During that time, Smith achieved several program first, including its first appearances in the NEWMAC finals and ECAC post-season appearance.  During the 2011-2012 season, Smith sets a then program-record for wins in a season.

"I am thrilled that Samantha Allen will be the next Head Women's Basketball at the University of Southern Maine," said outgoing USM head coach Gary Fifield.  "Sam is an exceptional teacher, coach and person.  She will work very hard to bring top-notch players and people to the University.  She is a relentless and well-connected recruiter who can attract and coach excellent players.  I am confident that the USM women's basketball teams, under Sam's leadership, will always be well prepared, well coached, display good sportsmanship and represent the University with distinction."

Familiar to the Maine girls' high school and women's college basketball scene, Allen enjoyed tremendously successful careers as Lake Region High School and Colby College. A Miss Maine Basketball Finalist in 2006, Allen earned numerous conference and regional honors during her high school playing career helping Lake Region to its first appearance in the State Championship game in 30 years in 2006.  Allen was inducted into the Lake Region High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.

Following her high school playing career, Allen earned a scholarship to compete at Division II Southern New Hampshire University.  A member of SNHU's women's basketball team from 2006-2008, Allen transferred to Colby College to close out her collegiate playing career. While at Colby (2008-2010), Allen was served as one of the Mules' captains and earned the team's Coaches' Award for the 2009-10 season. With Allen's leadership, Colby set a single-season mark for wins during the 2009-10 season posting a 24-5 record. Along the way, Colby earned its first ever national ranking and its first NCAA tournament bid. 

Allen has strong ties to the University of Southern Maine. Her father, Phil and step-mother Jill both attended Southern Maine, while her mother, Lisa Chase, also an USM alumnae was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame for her outstanding career as a member of the softball team.

Allen earned her bachelor's degree with academic distinction in Administrative Science from Colby College in 2010 and received her master's degree in Exercise and Sport Studies in 2012 from Smith College.



Bachelor's: Colby College, 2010 (Administrative Science)

Master's: Smith College, 2012 (Exercise and Sport Studies)


Previous Coaching Experience:

2014-2015: University of Southern Maine (Assistant Coach)

2012-2014: University of Vermont (Director of Basketball Operations)

2010-2012: Smith College (Assistant Coach)


Playing Experience:

2008-2010: Colby College

2006-2008: Southern New Hampshire University


Rachele Burns
Rachele Burns
Title: Women's Basketball Assistant Coach
Previous College: UMaine '14

Former University of Maine Black Bears guard and Gorham High School standout Rachele Burns returns for her third season as a member of the Huskies' women's basketball coaching staff.   

Burns graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maine in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Physical Education with a Health concentration and an Outdoor Education minor.

A member of the Black Bears' women's basketball team for five years under coach Richard Barron, Burns had the opportunity to spend the 2012-2013 season as a student assistant under Barron's direction while recovering from a season-ending injury.  During her time as a Black Bears' student-assistant coach, Burns was involved with recruiting, travel arrangements, scouting report preparation, planning practice and fundraising.

In Burns’ final season with the Black Bears she appeared in 11 games and her team had a 17-15 finish, falling in the quarterfinals of the America East tournament. The University of Maine earned a spot in the postseason Women’s Basketball Invitational and beat Bucknell in the first round before falling to Fairfield in the second round.

In 2014, Burns was selected by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association as one of 50 participants for the WBCA “So You Want to Be a Coach” program at the Final Four in Nashville, Tennessee. The three-day workshop was geared toward professional development and networking.
Before attending UMaine, Burns was a standout student and three-sport athlete at nearby Gorham High School, competing in soccer, basketball, and softball. Burns earned All-State honors in all three sports from 2005-2009 and was named Gorham’s most-distinguished female athlete as a senior in 2009. She was also selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year for soccer in 2008. Her basketball career was cut short just four games into her junior year by her first of four ACL surgeries, and she finished with 846 points, just shy of the 1,000 point mark.
Currently, Burns resides in Gorham and is a Physical Education teacher at Gray New Gloucester High School.
Denise Holmes
Denise Holmes
Title: Women's Basketball Assistant Coach
Previous College: University of Southern Maine

A former University of Southern Maine women's basketball player, Coach Denise Payette-Holmes has been a part of basketball in Maine for the past 35 years as both an accomplished player and as a successful coach.  

Enjoying successful stints as both the junior varsity and varsity roles at Scarborough, Portland, South Portland, Waynflete and Gorham high schools, Coach Payette-Holmes has coached and played in several Maine State Championship games. During her time at Gorham HS, Coach Holmes helped guide the Rams to a State Championship.  

Coach Payette-Holmes' greatest success game during her time as head coach at Windham High School.  During her 11 years at Windham, she led the team to an overall record of 136-85, while qualifying for postseason play all 11 seasons.  She set the school record for all-time career wins adn was named the 1997 Maien Basketball Coaches' Association Coach of the Year.  

As a player, Coach Payette-Holmes played at South Portland HS, helping the Riots to a State Championship game.  She continued her career at the University of Southern Maine before accepting a contract to play professionally in Ireland where she was the MVP during the 1985-1986 season.  

Coach Payette-Holmes resides in Gorham with her son Camerson and her daughter Mackenzie.