PORTLAND – Portland High didn’t have to look far to find its next athletic director. Mike McCullum, the school’s baseball coach, accepted the AD job Wednesday. His appointment is subject to school committee approval.

McCullum’s official title is co-curricular director, which includes supervision of the athletic program.

McCullum, 33, said he was looking for a career change after spending 10 years in the construction and home improvement business, and the chance to head the school’s athletic department was an opportunity he couldn’t overlook.

McCullum was an all-state baseball player for the Bulldogs and starred at the University of Southern Maine. He played center field for the Huskies’ 1997 Division III national championship team and was a Division III All-American in 1999.

His family has close ties to the school and he attended Portland games as a youngster.

“Portland High is part of my family. It’s where I want to be,” he said. “I saw the opportunity and went for it. I’m definitely excited about being part of Portland athletics full time. I’m looking forward to working with the coaches and all the athletes. I want to keep the tradition going strong at Portland and build off what Rich Drummond did.”

Drummond had been Portland’s AD since 2005. He accepted the Windham High AD job in April.

Portland Principal Mike Johnson said 20 candidates applied, and five finalists were selected.

“All five finalists were highly qualified. I was impressed with all of them,” said Johnson.

“I feel Mike will be an outstanding athletic director. His knowledge of the city and Portland High were big plusses. He knows many (people) in the Parks and Recreation Department, which will be helpful in scheduling field time.

“Mike has had a relationship with Portland High since he was 7 years old. He’s a top-notch guy whose character is second to none.”

McCullum has been the Bulldogs’ baseball coach for two seasons. They finished 8-8 this season with a young team and were 10-8 in his first season.

“I haven’t had a conversation with Mike Johnson about the baseball job,” said McCullum. “More than likely I’m going to have to resign. That’s going to be one of the hardest things to do.”

Said Johnson: “I believe it would be very difficult to do both (jobs).”

McCullum plans to be at Portland on Monday to begin transitioning into the job.

“There’s going to be a learning curve, but being familiar with the veteran coaches and the administration at Portland makes me a little more comfortable coming in,” he said.

McCullum lives in Portland with his wife and 2-year-old daughter, and they’re expecting another child.

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

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