Fellow football coaches praised Mike Bailey on Saturday for his longevity, his dedication and how well his teams were prepared, a day after he resigned as Portland High head coach.

The reasons for the resignation are still unknown. On Friday, Portland Athletic Director Mike McCullum only offered confirmation that Bailey had resigned.

“The rest of it is a personnel matter that I’m not going to discuss,” McCullum said Friday.

Efforts to reach McCullum and Bailey on Saturday were unsuccessful.

Bailey coached at Portland for 31 years — the last 26 as head coach.

“Mike has been the face of Portland football for as long as I’ve been in southern Maine,” said Cheverus Coach John Wolfgram.

“He understood Portland football. He worked very hard and his teams were very consistent. He knew us as well as any coach in the league and I would like to think we knew his teams just as well. Our teams have locked horns over the years.

“I was very surprised when I heard Mike had resigned. I had no inkling at all.”

A few factors may have led to Bailey’s departure, such as a recent school board decision to create one booster club at each city high school rather than having a booster club for each sport.

Bailey also was criticized for his actions in the Thanksgiving Day game against Deering, when he accused the Rams of running up the score and elected to kick off instead of receive after a Deering touchdown with 46 seconds left made it 33-0.

Whatever the reasons for Bailey’s resignation, it ends one of the longest tenures among current Maine football coaches. He was the winningest football coach in Portland High history, with a 137-101 overall record. He was 16-10 on Thanksgiving Day against Deering. His 2002 team won the Class A state title.

“I’m 37 and he’s been coaching nearly as long as I’ve been alive. He coached when I played,” said Biddeford Coach Scott Descoteaux. “My hat is off to him. I admire a person willing to roll their neck out there for 30 years. It shows a real commitment to kids.”

Biddeford and Thornton have played Portland infrequently over the years because they are in different divisions in Western Class A. Biddeford played the Bulldogs in 2009 and 2010. Thornton has played Portland just four times during Kevin Kezal’s 12 years as the Trojans’ coach, including Thornton’s 14-12 win this season.

“You knew you had to be ready when you played Portland,” said Kezal. “Mike put his kids in positions where they could be successful.

“Mike was one of those guys who had been through a lot in high school football. Off the field, you could ask him questions and he was always very helpful. You could run an idea by him, and he had a lot of ideas.”

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

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Twitter: TomChardPPH