In her fourth season as head coach of the University of Southern Maine Women’s Basketball program, Samantha Allen has a long history with not only the tradition of great basketball in the State of Maine, but also with the long standing tradition of excellent women’s basketball at the University of Southern Maine.
Familiar to the Maine girls’ high school and women’s college basketball scene, Allen enjoyed tremendously successful careers at 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.
With strong family ties to the University of Southern Maine, Allen is quite familiar with the academic and athletic excellence found among its nearly 500 student-athletes, 22 intercollegiate programs and nearly 50 degrees of study on the Portland, Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn campuses. Allen’s father, Phil, and step-mother Jill both attended the University of 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.
In her short tenure as the Huskies’ head coach, Allen has made her mark on campus, with the student-athlete community, and within her program. In her first three seasons with the Huskies, Allen has had seven of her student-athletes recognized with post-season honors, including Kristen Curley - the 2018 New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA), D3hoops.com New England Region, Maine State Women's Basketball (MWBCA) and Little East Conference Rookie of the Year. In addition to Curley's numerous accolades, Alexa Srolovitz was named the LEC Defensive Player of the Year, marking the first time a USM women's basketball player has earned the honor. Several of Allen's earlier recruits have also earned post-season accolades, including rising juniors Jackie Luckhardt and Chantel Eells who were named to the MWBCA and LEC All-Rookie teams at the conclusion of their freshman seasons.
Academically, the Huskies’ women’s basketball team has been the standard bearer over the last three season’s earning the Athletic Department’s Remo Riciputi Award (2015, 2016 and 2017), which is presented annually to the team with the highest grade point average. During the 2017 William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete Awards banquet, 10 members of Allen’s team were individually honored for their outstanding abilities on and off of the court.
In addition to her duties as head coach, Allen also serves as a lecturer for the NCAA Champs/Life Skills course and as the USM Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) advisor. For her excellence in these roles, Allen was tabbed as one of the 2016-2017 President’s Award for Community Engagement. Presented annually to USM faculty and staff, the President’s Award for Community Engagement is given to members of the faculty who demonstrate an abiding commitment to incorporating community-based learning practices in their courses, and to staff who advance USM’s mutually beneficial relationships with community members and organizations, and construct student opportunities in the community.
As the SAAC advisor, and lecturer, Allen increased the depth and breadth of community-engagement and civic leadership in both disciplines, strengthening partnerships with Maine Special Olympics, USM Student Veterans Organizations, and University Counseling Services. Under her stewardship, the creation of the Huskies’ Unified Sports Program; the sponsorship, creation of an Active Bystander Training presentation; and a holiday chartable appeal with Husky Vets to benefit NFI North, Inc. (North American Family Institute) led to SAAC’s recognition by the University with its Contribution to Community Service Award for the second consecutive year. Last year, under Allen's guidance USM's SAAC was honored by the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) with its Josten's Community Service Award.
With her growing success on and off the court, Allen has earned personal accolades as well. At the conclusion of the 2017-2018 season, Allen was named the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association (WBCA) Thirty Under 30 - in its third year as an award's program, the WBCA's Thirty Under 30 Award is given to 30 up-and-coming women's basketball coaches age 30 and under in the sport across all levels (NCAA Division I, II, III and NAIA) of the game. Each of the 30 recipients has exemplified their involvement in community service, mentorship, and impact on others, and professionalism. Allen's committment to service learning and community engagement also earned her recognition from the Maine Campus Compact with the Donald Harward Award for Faculty Service-Learning Excellence. One of three faculty members teaching in Maine to be presented with the award, it is given annually to faculty members who have made public service an integral part of his or her curriculum, use innovative teaching tools to engage students in civic learning, and have a demonstrated commitment to advocating for service-learning on campus and beyond.
Following her successful 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 served as one of the Mules’ captains. 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.
Embarking on her career pursuit of collegiate coaching, Allen spent two seasons on the sidelines as an assistant coach with the Smith College Pioneers from 2010 through 2012 while obtaining her graduate degree. Following her time at Smith, Allen earned a position on the staff of the Division I University of Vermont Catamounts, working as the team’s Director of Basketball Operations from 2012 through 2014. Following her tenure with UVM, Allen spent one season as the Huskies’ assistant coach under legendary coach Gary Fifield before assuming her role as USM’s leader.
While with the Catamounts, Allen assisted in of a dynamic 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 firsts, including its first appearances in the NEWMAC finals and ECAC post-season appearance, and a then program-record for wins in a season (2011-12). As the Huskies’ assistant, Allen coordinated the recruiting efforts for all-rookie team selection and current junior Alexa Srolovitz.
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.
Honors & Awards:
2018: Donald Harward Award for Faculty Service-Learning Excellence
2018: WBCA (Women's Basketball Coaches' Association) Thirty Under 30
2017: USM President's Award for Community Engagement
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)
2008-2010: Colby College
2006-2008: Southern New Hampshire University
|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.
|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 and was named the 1997 Maine 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.