FARMINGTON — One of Maine’s most successful high school basketball coaches is retiring.

Jim Bessey has announced that he’s stepping down after 479 career wins in 37 years as head coach.

He spent of 33 of those years at Mount Blue High School in Farmington and four at Madison Area Memorial.

The 68-year-old Bessey says he’s thought about retiring from coaching for some time. He retired as a teacher a decade ago.

He says he’ll most miss the competition and the relationships with the other coaches and the players.