When the Cheverus High cross country teams began preseason practice this week, they did so without either of the coaches who guided them to Class A state championships last fall.

Bruce Bickford, coach of the Cheverus boys, resigned earlier this month to accept a coaching job at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

Valerie Guillet, coach of the Cheverus girls, resigned for personal reasons but may continue to coach at the school in some capacity.

“She may or may not,” said Patsy Fowler, assistant athletic director. “We really don’t have any clear-cut answers.”

Fowler said the interviewing process for potential replacements began last week and continues. In the meantime, Dan Costigan, an English teacher at Cheverus and current basketball coach at Southern Maine Community College, is running evening practices for both teams.

“The whole thing should be settled by the end of the week,” Fowler said. “The kids are in very good hands right now and we have some highly qualified candidates for both positions, so it’s a choice of excellences.”

Bickford had coached three seasons of indoor track, two seasons of outdoor track and one season of cross country at Cheverus. Previously he had coached at Villanova, Brandeis and the University of Southern Maine.

“I really, really enjoyed my time there and Cheverus was great to me,” he said. “The parents, everything, it was nothing but positive.”

There have been other coaching changes on the local cross country scene. David Weatherbie of Cape Elizabeth and John Wilkinson of Gorham have stepped down from long-held positions, with both citing a desire to watch their children compete in athletics.

Weatherbie coached at Cape Elizabeth for eight years and won back-to-back Class B state championships in 2005 and 2006, with the 2006 squad going on to finish third in New England. That’s the highest finish for a Maine team since the state returned to the regional competition in 2005 after an absence of nearly three decades.

“It was a great run and I obviously enjoyed my time,” Weatherbie said. “I’m certainly not ruling out coaching down the line, but I want to be able to watch my kids play.”

Weatherbie has three children, including a daughter who is a senior at Cape Elizabeth and a son who is a freshman at Cheverus. Both play soccer.

Taking over Weatherbie’s duties at Cape Elizabeth is Derek Veilleux, an assistant coach last fall.

“He’ll do a great job,” Weatherbie said.

In Gorham, Wilkinson is leaving after 27 years that included starting up the indoor track programs. His daughter, Rachel, graduated in the spring from Gorham High and plans to run for the University of Maine this fall. His son, a South Portland High junior, plays soccer.

“Not going to practice (Monday) seemed quite different,” Wilkinson said. “But this is good timing. I decided when (Rachel) went I would make a change.”

Jason Tanguay, who assisted Wilkinson in indoor and outdoor track, is now coaching the boys’ cross country team at Gorham. Kurt Schwanda remains head coach of the girls’ team.

“I have nothing but good memories from Gorham,” said Wilkinson, who indicated he may keep a hand in coaching as an assistant.

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

[email protected]