Kassie ArchambaultArchambault, 31, takes the helm of the Phillips Andover mat program, succeeding Rich Gorham, who has stepped down after 22 years, but will remain on board as an assistant wrestling coach.
When Archambault was asked by the Eagle-Tribune about her new position, she replied, "I feel good about it and honored. When I first started coaching, it (becoming a head coach) wasn't something I thought about. But I love the sport and, after a couple of years of getting more established, I started thinking about it. I was just surprised it came about this quickly."
Archambault can claim a number of firsts prior to taking the head coaching job at Phillips Andover. As a student at Phillips, she was a four-year wrestler who completed her prep mat career by becoming the first female wrestler to place in the Interscholastic Class A meet as a senior in 2006.
In 2012, Archambault returned to Phillips to become the first female assistant wrestling coach at the any prep school. Just this past year, Archambault was named the Assistant Coach of the Year at the New England Independent Schools Wrestling Tournament. At that time, then head coach Gorham described Archambault as "special because she brings an energy and enthusiasm to every practice that keeps the team upbeat."
Archambault seeks to build on that experience in her recruitment efforts to bring both male and female wrestlers to the school ... and perhaps attract existing students to the program.
"I feel we have a real family atmosphere and I want more of that," said Archambault, who is also teaches Russian at Phillips Andover. "We'll be doing bonding activities in the fall and other things to keep us together, and I think other students will see that.
"I really want to get the word out there on campus that wrestling is a sport that we encourage everyone to come out and try."
Founded in 1778, Phillips Academy is a co-educational university preparatory school for boarding and day students in grades 9-12. Located in Andover, Mass. just north of Boston, Phillips Academy Andover has a total enrollment of approximately 1,150 students.