Don Wilson Dina Mendros

BIDDEFORD — The Biddeford community is mourning the tragic loss of a legendary friend, teacher, coach, and athletic director, Don Wilson, according to a Biddeford High School Facebook posting. A graduate of St. Louis High School and the University of Southern Maine, Wilson was an Industrial Arts teacher, coach, assistant principal, and athletic director for 37 years at Biddeford High School.

“The Biddeford school community is extremely saddened to lose such a beloved legacy,” said Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Ray. “Don is the epitome of Tiger Pride and left a significant impact on all individuals he encountered. He knew everyone and prided himself in knowing their athletic stats without prompting. His memory was ironclad and he gave the Biddeford youth in this community the opportunity to excel inside and outside of the classroom.”

As the school’s former athletic director for 23 years, Wilson was recognized in the Biddeford Hall of Honor in 2015 for his greatest contributions consisting of expanding athletic offerings in which he added six varsity programs and several sub-varsity offerings, according to Facebook. He was instrumental to the development of Waterhouse Field including co-chairing the Waterhouse Field Lighting Committee, which allowed the return of night football in 1985, played a major role in the installation of bleachers in 1985 and 1989, and assisted in the fundraising efforts for the renovation in 2018. Don was also instrumental in bringing the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl game to Waterhouse Field, awarded the Maine Interscholastic Administrator of the Year award, and received a Citation Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to Interscholastic Athletics from the National Federation of High Schools.

Director of Athletics Dennis Walton said of Coach Wilson, “Don was not only a tremendous school leader, he was a friend and a mentor. Don Wilson was the reason I aspired to become an athletic director at Biddeford High School. He was loved and admired by all that knew him. Don never forgot a face and was the go-to person with anything at Biddeford High School. He loved the community, the school, and the kids that he served.”

Scott Descoteaux, BHS Class of 1992 and current Biddeford Middle School principal, said, “You can’t think of Biddeford without thinking of Don. As far as I’m concerned, he is one of the forefathers of Biddeford. This community’s character and strength rest on the shoulders of giants like Don, Mike Landry, Ron Cote — they’ve been the fabric of our community for a long time. This is a huge loss for us.”