WINTHROP — Dave St. Hilaire is no stranger to Winthrop football.

The 49-year-old Winthrop native coached the middle school team in two different stints — 1990 and again last fall — and he’s been involved in youth organizations, including Augusta.

Last season he joined Winthrop/Monmouth coach Joel Stoneton’s staff as a linebackers/wide receivers coach.

His vast experience and familiarity with the football program helped St. Hilaire land the Winthrop/Monmouth head coaching job, which became vacant when Stoneton recently resigned to become the Winthrop athletic director.

“I’m excited,” said St. Hilaire, a supervisor in the Winthrop Hannaford warehouse. “I’m going to do whatever it takes for the program to stay successful.”

The hiring will become official Wednesday night at the Winthrop school board meeting, principal Keith Morin said.

“He has a lot of experience in the Winthrop system,” said Morin, who is also filling in as athletic director with Stoneton out following the sudden death of his daughter, Kelsey, on Aug. 1. “He has the respect of the student body. He was just an absolute top-shelf candidate for the job. He will bring plenty of success to the program.”

St. Hilaire will also bring experience coaching a co-operative program, something Morin said is critical for the Winthrop/Monmouth job.

St. Hilaire previous coached the Winthrop/Hall-Dale hockey team.

“It’s a big plus,” Morin said. “He’s worked with students in a variety of schools. He has that experience, which is important.”

St. Hilaire added he expressed interest in the position when Stoneton resigned after 19 years in the football program — the last 10 as head coach.

“This opportunity came up quick,” said St. Hilaire, who coached the middle school football team from 1990-92 and then returned as an assistant in 2000. “When Joel took the AD job I became interested. It’s a great opportunity.”

St. Hilaire takes over a program that went 61-35 in the previous 10 seasons under Stoneton. The Ramblers struggled in recent years with turnout, but numbers ballooned when the program merged with Monmouth last season.

The team had as many as 60 players come out — nearly double compared to previous seasons — last season, which ended with an upset loss in the Western D Campbell Conference semifinals.

St. Hilaire said he expects another good turnout this season despite the loss of 19 graduated players.

“We’ll have 48-55 kids out,” he said. “We’ll need to get people to buy in, but that shouldn’t be a problem. A lot of the guys know me. I will be a teacher of the game. I will ask my players to play as a team. Success will come with that.

“If we come together and make the sacrifices we need to make, we’ll do some stuff.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5618

[email protected]

Twitter: @billstewartmtm

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