Tuesday, Bangor Daily News sportswriter Ernie Clark wrote an outstanding article on Bangor High School’s 100 athletic state championships. Bangor is one of the top schools in number of state championships in Maine.
Bangor also has Steve Vanidestine as their AD for the past 33 years and he is one of the longest tenured AD’s currently ADing in the state.
Of those 100 state championships since 1926, Steve has been in charge of the Bangor High Athletic Program since the 1983-84 school year he has seen his teams win 66 of those 100 state championships.
There have only been 3 athletic directors in the history of Bangor High School athletics, Fred “Red’ Barry was the first Bangor AD, I replaced him in 1979 and Steve replaced me in 1983,
Prior to the position of AD at Bangor High the supervisor of athletics was entitled, “Faculty Manager of Athletics” which was a stipend position. Fred Pinkham, a teacher at Bangor High was the Faculty Manager of Athletics.
During that time there was only boys sports, football, cross-country and girls cheering in the fall, Varsity and JV Basketball and girls cheering in the winter and baseball and track in the spring.
The coaches helped with some of the AD work that the current AD’s do now and the Faculty Manager of Athletics did more of the business end of the AD’s job.
With the addition of more boys sports and the addition of girls interscholastic athletics, the faculty manager position was changed to a part-time or half time AD.
Mr. Barry taught 3 US History Classes and was athletic director, when I was AD I was the Physical Education Department Head grades K thru 12. We both had a faculty manager of athletics, Lorrraine Johnson who wrote the checks and did the bookkeeping for the athletic program..
Steve has lived in Bangor all his life and except for his 4 years of college at the University of Maine he has been in the Bangor School system as a student grades K thru 12 and has been employed in the Bangor School system right out of college in 1975.
For 54 years he has been in the Bangor School System either as a student, teacher, coach or AD.
Steve was an outstanding baseball player for Coach Bob Kelley and a star football player for coach Gerry Hodge
Steve was a work study supervisor teacher and assistant football coach for Gerry Hodge and Gabby Price at his alma mata Bangor High School.
When Steve took over for me in 1983 he became the first and only full-time athletic director at Bangor High, and he also has a secretary.
When I left the position in 1983 I recommended Steve for the job because he was a Bangor High Graduate, former athlete, assistant coach and teacher at Bangor High and was always interested in how the athletic program was run at Bangor High
He loves Bangor High and Bangor High Athletics. He has a great understanding of Bangor High School athletics and what it takes to do the job.
Steve knows and understands the value of loyalty and whenever he can he will try to hire coaches from within the system.
Many of Bangor’s coaches over the years were like Steve, Bangor grads, former Bangor athletes who returned home to teach and coach.
This meant there was usually qualified. loyal assistant coaches available for promotions when head jobs opened up. Steve believes in this 100 percent.
Steve is a coaches AD as he always tried to support his coaches when needed over the 33 years he has been AD he has had few head coaching openings.
Having few coaching changes is the sign of a great, popular and efficient athletic director.
You will always see Steve at all home athletic events and many times he has to hop from facility to facility when there is more than 1 home event scheduled.
Being a Bangor student, athlete, teacher, coach, and AD whenever Steve gets a cut he bleeds Bangor Cardinal.red which is half of Bangor’s colors the other being white.
Having been an AD for 5 years at Bangor and 11 at John Bapst Memorial High School I fully understand the pluses, minuses, the problems, the solutions, the rewards that Steve faces everyday.
I really enjoyed working with him as AD’s when I was at John Bapst and saw how well he had developed into the professional that he truly is.
Currently being the only class A football team and the only class AA basketball team in Eastern Maine, two of the major problems he has faced and successfully solved was scheduling, getting membership into leagues for scheduling and travel.
There was a time when Bangor was the biggest high school in the state in enrollment but now is the third biggest. With the changes in enrollments for classification it has meant that Bangor is the only Eastern Maine team in Class A in football and AA in basketball it has to schedule and travel to schools in the greater Portland area. It’s closest trips in football is Lewiston and Auburn.
Steve Vanidestine, in my opinion, is the most valuable athletic administrator in Maine as Bangor’s location presents many additional problems then it does not for the other Class AA and A schools that they compete against.
He has done an outstanding job in keeping the best interest of his school’s athletes and coaches to give them an opportunity to compete successfully for state championships.
When Steve retires he will be very, very hard to replace. I know that no one is supposedly indispensable, but in Steve’s case, he maybe irreplaceable and whoever follows him will have very big shoes to fill.
All athletic directors usually work behind the scenes and do not get enough credit when things are going well. However, whenever there is a problem in the athletic program they are the ones that are usually held responsible and have to solve whatever problem occurs.
AD’s when they have a home evening event usually they face a 7:00am to 10:00pm 15 hour day.
Steve Vanidestine is always thinking and foremost about what is best for Bangor High School and it’s student athletes and coaches.
Congratulations Steve on a job well done. I am your biggest fan as I know what it takes to do the job that you have done for the City of Bangor, its schools, it’s administrators, it’s staff, it’s student athletes, coaches, fans and parents.