SCARBOROUGH – Scarborough High Athletic Director Gary Groves, a Christian minister, will leave at the end of the school year to work full time as a pastor.

“I’m not going to renew my contract (as athletic director),” Groves said Wednesday. “The church is at a point where it needs more attention. I’ve been struggling to balance it all. I was hoping to do that and last a few more years, but I just can’t keep going seven days a week.

“With my duties at school and at church, it got to a point where I felt the church has been getting the leftovers. That’s not where my heart is. I give everything I have in whatever I do.”

Groves is the minister of the West Gorham Union Church, with a congregation of 80. He is also the pastor at the Hiram Community Church, which has a much smaller congregation. Groves said both churches are looking to grow and part of his job will be to make that happen.

“Being an athletic director has been an excellent job for me,” said Groves. “When I say I love this job, I really mean it. It’s an extremely challenging profession. That’s one of the things I love about it. But my passion is the ministry. I have been planning this. I’ve been very open about it.”

In his ministry, Groves, 46, has traveled to India to work with pastors in remote villages.

“I’ve been looking to implement that work back in Maine,” he said.

In his two years at Scarborough, Groves strived to build strong relationships with coaches and parents.

He hired coaches who he said added to an already strong staff. For programs that have been successful, such as boys’ soccer, and boys’ and girls’ track, Groves sought ways to make them stronger. For sports that struggled, he sought ways to make them better.

Groves said the recent hire of football coach Lance Johnson from Portland is a step in the right direction.

“Lance has come in and interacted with the community, the players and boosters,” he said.

Groves cited his hiring of veteran hockey coach Norm Gagne for the boys’ program and Kaitlin Cashman for the girls’ program as moves to build those teams. Another strong hire, he said, was that of Joe Johnson as boys’ basketball coach.

“I’ve worked to support the kids, the coaches, and improve the quality of what we give the kids,” said Groves.

Groves is a graduate of Westbrook High and the University of Maine. He was a three-sport athlete in high school and a standout defensive back at Maine who also played a pro season in Italy.

After college, Groves worked as an assistant general manager at Anaheim Stadium, then for Herzog Motorsports in operations. He returned to Maine and became athletic director at Portland, followed by stints at Westbrook and Deering.

Groves is married with a stepdaughter.

 

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

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