Susan Robbins, a 1993 Belfast Area High School graduate, is a positive role model, especially for young women and on March 26 she was recognized as such, at the Maine Principals’ Association’s 12th annual Mentoring Women in Sports conference she was one of four women recognized as an “Unsung Heroine in Maine Sports.”

“For me, the award is special because it recognizes women who have made an impact for young girls around our state,” Robbins said. “Certainly, I am trying to be a role model for others who would like to potential become athletic directors.”

Margaret Veazie of Dexter Regional High School, Dodi Saucier of Orono
High School and Sybil Coombs of Wells were also recognized.

In the world of Maine high school athletics, which, by most accounts, is dominated by men, Robbins is a role model for both young men and women. She currently is the athletic director at Yarmouth High School, ranked fifth best high school in New England by Newsweek Magazine, and the first and only woman in Maine to become a certified master athletic administrator, the highest level of MPA accreditation for athletic directors.

The 35-year-old daughter of Jenness Robbins of Searsmont and Louine Robbins of Belfast was also an avid BAHS Lion student-athlete as she played four years of varsity softball and basketball, and three years of varsity field hockey.

After high school, she attended Springfield College in Massachusetts where she received a bachelor of sciences degree in movement sciences and a master or education in athletic administration. At that school, she also played field hockey and softball.

At different points during her life, she has coached field hockey and softball at both the high school and college levels.

After her education, she became an athletic administrator and has been so for 12 years, five of which have been at Yarmouth.

As an AD, her “goal is to create the best possible experiences for student-athletes in sports because, really, that’s my role,” she said. “I work for the students in our community and town and that’s kind of my goal every day when I walk through the doors, to just make the experience for our students as great as it can be.”

Robbins emphasizes the importance of strong relationships between students, coaches and herself, to make a healthy athletic program. She wants strong, positive relationships with not only students, but coaches as well and sees herself as the “coach of the coaches” to work with them on behalf of the students to make the best team possible.

She feels that supporting all of her coaches, especially the female coaches, is a key to being a positive example. Although she supports all her coaching staff, Robbins thinks that far too often she sees young, talented female coaches with potential leave their positions. She said they often depart because of family obligations and have a hard time coming back.

One of her aims is to make these women feel they have support from above and that they can juggle both school and their families. “[I am] really trying to create opportunities for young girls to pursue opportunities in coaching and really stick with it,” she said.

Robbins wants to foster relationships with these female coaches and understands their dilemma, especially since she is a mother of three children who still leads a successful professional life.

“You know what, sometimes school can’t come first because my children have to come first,” she said. She said she comprehends that these young coaches have family obligations but that she thinks they can be mothers and coaches at the same time with the right support.

To all her students, young men and women alike, Robbins stresses the value of integrity. “I think that being a strong leader is certainly the central issue in anybody trying to excel in sport and athletics, that’s what we try to teach wherever we are,” she said.

She said would like to foster leaders, people “who are just willing to put themselves out there and make the right decision. Too often in our youth there are kids who don’t hold true to who they are,” she said. “My main message to young students is, ‘Be who you are, be a person if integrity, hold your core values, hang on to those tightly, especially work hard for what you do and be a person of character.”

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.