Aaron Filieo is going home.

The South Portland native, who built a successful football program at neighboring Cape Elizabeth High over the past 15 years, was named Wednesday morning as head coach at South Portland High.

“Ever since I played there, it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to come back to my alma mater and be the head coach,” said Filieo, who lives in South Portland and teaches language arts and social studies at Cape Elizabeth Middle School.

At Cape Elizabeth, Filieo guided teams to an overall record of 106-48 and into the playoffs 13 consecutive seasons. The Capers played in five regional championship games and reached the state final in 2009 and 2017.

Before graduating from South Portland in 1993, Filieo played for John Wolfgram on the 1992 Class A state championship team – the school’s first since 1951. South Portland won three more titles in the ’90s, including the 1999 squad that included Filieo as an assistant to Wolfgram.

Filieo said he plans to continue teaching in the Cape Elizabeth school system but will watch for openings at the middle school or high school level in South Portland.

“At some point,” he said, “I’d like to get into the school system.”

Before coaching at Cape Elizabeth, Filieo was an assistant at South Portland for six years, until 2002. He took over at Cape Elizabeth in 2004.

Filieo said he plans to bring his staff of assistant coaches to South Portland. They’ll be making the jump from a Class C program to Class A.

“There will be a few new faces,” he said, “but for the most part, it will be the staff I had here in Cape.”

Filieo replaces Steve Stinson, who led the Red Riots to a 42-78 mark over 14 seasons at South Portland. Stinson resigned this fall after a 1-7 season that ended with an announcement from the school that it would not play a scheduled quarterfinal playoff game against Bonny Eagle because the team lacked enough players to compete safely.

Todd Livingston, athletic administrator at South Portland High, lauded Filieo’s success at building a program, not that the Red Riots are starting from scratch.

“I wouldn’t say it needs a rebuild, but it’s time for a change,” Livingston said. “I think having someone who is well-established and has a proven record of success can take the foundation that’s here and hopefully improve it and take it in a positive direction.”

More than a dozen applicants responded to the advertised position, Livingston said. The hiring process included a committee with student-athletes, parents, booster representatives, community members and coaches.

Filieo interviewed Monday evening. The announcement of his hiring was delayed until Wednesday morning in order to give him time to break the news to Cape Elizabeth players.

“I always thought it would be an easy decision, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought,” Filieo said. “Cape football’s in a great spot. The wheels are greased and ready for anyone who wants to take over the program and bring it to the next level.”

Livingston spoke with Cape Elizabeth athletic administrator Jeff Thoreck and said the news was not a complete surprise.

“I apologized for creating a void for him,” Livingston said. “He was happy for (Filieo) and appreciative of everything he had done over there.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH


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