WINDHAM — Saying the timing is right and looking forward to “the next chapter in my life,” Steve Merrill will step down as Windham High athletic director at the end of this school year.

Merrill, 57, submitted his resignation last month. In his 12 years as Windham’s AD, Merrill has been part of a significant upgrade of the athletic facilities at the school, a wide expansion of teams and sports, and successes on the field.

All told, Merrill has spent 34 years in education.

“It’s a personal decision,” said Merrill. “Career-wise, it’s the right thing for me now. I still love the job. It’s the time and the nights and weekends involved. It’s a grind but that’s the job. I’ll be looking forward to getting those nights and weekends back. I have no complaints.”

Merrill’s contract ends July 1. He said the school began interviewing for his successor this week and he expects Windham to have a hire by the end of the month. Merrill said he would help in the transition if needed.

As for his plans, Merrill said they are evolving.

“I’ve just started to do some networking,” he said. “I still want to continue working. I’m looking for something else, but I don’t know what that will be at the moment.”

When Merrill started as athletic director, Windham was new to Class A and the SMAA. In his second year at the school, the Eagles started a football program. Last fall, Windham won the Class A state championship.

“Winning the state title in football was huge for the school and the community, but it was certainly not the only thing by any stretch,” said Merrill.

“The boys’ soccer team reached the regional final. The field hockey program has been improving along with the girls’ soccer program. Boys’ basketball had its best season in a while and the boys’ swimming team finished fifth in the states in only its fourth year. The number of students participating in athletics continues to grow. The community support has been tremendous.”

Under Merrill, the Eagles have added 16 teams at the varsity and sub-varsity levels.

“I’m also proud of the coaching staff we’ve put together here,” he said. “The school continues to add excellent coaches who are not only very competent in their sports but who connect with the kids, which is the key. If you hire quality people, success will follow. We’ve seen more and more of that.”

The renovation and addition to the high school six years ago brought, among other things, a new gymnasium, locker rooms, coaches’ offices and weight room. A stadium was built with a track, bleachers, concession stand and press box. In addition, four practice fields were added.

Before Windham, Merrill taught health and was the Yarmouth baseball coach for 16 years. Before that, he coached baseball and taught health at Gorham High for six years.

Merrill is a Deering High graduate, where he played baseball and basketball. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts, where he also played baseball. He lives in Windham with his wife, Patty.

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

[email protected]