Waynflete coach Brandon Salway delivered the right message for over three decades and turned his program into one of the state’s finest. Salway is stepping down after 34 seasons. File photo.

Brandon Salway, who took over the fledgling Waynflete boys’ soccer program in 1989, back when the school didn’t have a nickname or a conference affiliation, then transformed it into one of the state’s transcendent powers regardless of class, is stepping down after 34 triumphant seasons.

Salway, who went 332-120-47 and won eight Gold Balls during his three-plus decades, has been battling the lingering effects of three prior back surgeries and felt now was the time to step away not only from his role as boys’ soccer coach, but also as the school’s assistant athletic director and physical education teacher.

“Sometimes your body talks to you and sometimes it screams at you,” said Salway, who is contending with bone spurs and arthritis. “My health is making it challenging and I’m trying to avoid any more surgeries. I feel compelled to focus on my health, which I’ve ignored for too many years.

“If it wasn’t for that, I’d be getting ready right now for summer soccer. It’s the most difficult decision of my professional life. It’s really difficult to step away. I’m still trying to get my head around it.”

In the summer of 1989, a year which featured George H.W. Bush as the new resident of the White House, “Batman,” “Dead Poets Society” and “When Harry Met Sally” as top movies and the Oakland A’s-San Francisco Giants World Series being delayed by an earthquake, Salway, just 22-years-old and fresh out of the University of Southern Maine, became Waynflete’s boys’ soccer coach.

To say his beginning was humble would be an understatement.


“We didn’t even have a preseason when I got hired,” said Salway. “They wanted me to start the day before our first game and I said we should probably start a couple weeks before. We were an independent. We didn’t have a nickname. To pick up games, we played all over the place. We played MAISAD schools like Hyde and Hebron and Gould until we joined the Western Maine Conference.”

Waynflete, which adopted the Flyers moniker early in Salway’s tenure, enjoyed immediate success under its new coach, going 8-0 in the regular season in 1989, losing to Richmond in the regional final.

That would become a regular occurrence, Waynflete would reach 22 regional finals during Salway’s tenure, moving on to the state game 14 times and winning it all on more than half of those occasions.

“I landed at the right place at the right time,” Salway said. “I was fortunate to grow up as a coach (at Waynflete). When I started, I had more questions than answers. I got to grow a program with some excellent, committed athletes. I’ve had some outstanding assistants. Our success doesn’t happen without their contributions. They made it easy to coach. It was a labor of love. A lot of fun every day at practice.”

Waynflete coach Brandon Salway is presented the game ball by Harry Millspaugh after Salway’s 300th victory, a 6-0 home win over Sacopee Valley during the abbreviated COVID season of 2020. File photo.

Salway guided the Flyers to Class D championships in 1993, 2001 and 2002 and after moving up to Class C in 2005, to titles in that class in 2011, 2018, 2019, 2021 and again this past fall, led by senior Myles Culley, the program’s first All-American.

Over the past five years, Waynflete posted a dazzling record of 71-5-6, all the while playing many of the state’s elite teams from Class B and during the COVID-abbreviated season of 2020, taking on local Class A squads as well, beating bigger city foes Cheverus, Deering and Portland.


“I’m proud of our consistency and our ability to make game-changing plays in the biggest moments against the best teams,” Salway said. “Over the last 10 years or so, we’ve embraced playing the most challenging schedule we could find. I enjoyed those games the most. You learn more and get better from those games. Our goal was always to get better every day and to make it to the regional final. We were able to do that a lot even though some great teams and coaches tried to prevent us from getting there.

“The last five years, our teams really raised the bar. Sometimes, I’d catch myself just watching how we played. I’ve learned so much from players over the years. I’ve been fortunate to coach intelligent players with high IQs who were willing to commit time to the program and create our culture.”

Salway always featured a stoic, calm demeanor on the sidelines and his teams were well-respected for their sportsmanship.

Salway didn’t just serve as a soccer coach at Waynflete, he also coached girls’ basketball from 1990-99 (going 106-42 with a trip to the Western D Final in 1997), was the coach of the boys’ squad from 1999-02 (posting a record of 28-27) and returned to the girls program in 2007 and enjoyed an eight-year stint, which produced a 124-40 mark, including the school’s second Gold Ball (and first in Class C) in 2013, when Martha Veroneau led the Flyers on an unforgettable run to the crown.

Salway, who won a total of 590 games throughout his Waynflete career coaching soccer and basketball, was named The Forecaster’s Coach of the Year in the Fall of 2011, 2018, 2019 and 2020 and was honored as Winter Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Salway has no shortage of fans, both at Waynflete and in the larger soccer community.


“Waynflete has lost one of Maine’s finest coaches, in any sport,” said Yarmouth’s longtime boys’ soccer coach Mike Hagerty, a dynastic coach in his own right. “It is a sad day for them and also for Maine soccer. Brandon has always been a coach I have admired, first from afar and then as a good friend in the coaching ranks. For as long as I have known Brandon, his teams have been among the top programs in the state, regardless of class. His teams are always well coached. They play an intelligent game, are supremely organized, never beat themselves and always compete. Another impressive thing about Brandon, and one thing all of us who coach would do well to emulate, is that he treats his players with great respect and consideration. I have never seen him be anything but positive with players. He is exactly the type of coach I would want to coach my own children. I will miss seeing Brandon on the sidelines, but I am grateful to know him and hope he returns to coaching someday in the future.”

“Brandon is the most authentic coach I’ve ever been around,” said Andrew Leach, Waynflete’s boys’ lacrosse and girls’ basketball coach. “He walked it and talked it, every single day. Every win was about the kids and every loss was about what he could do better. His work ethic always stood out to me and I’ve tried to model his philosophy of ‘no stone left unturned’ since we started coaching together in 2017. No one would ever be able to outwork or outcoach him.”

“It has been an honor and privilege to work side by side with Brandon Salway for the past 19 years at Waynflete,” added Ross Burdick, the school’s longtime athletic director, whose two sons, Willy and Oliver, played soccer for Salway. “The soccer field, the gymnasium and the athletic office will not be the same without him. Brandon is an intelligent and caring educator who has molded hundreds of young athletes and earned the respect of his colleagues. He is highly respected by officials, coaches and administrators around the state. Brandon has led our boys’ soccer program with skill, humility and grace. Under his watch, the soccer program has become not only a perennial contender in Class C, but also one of the top programs in the state. I want to thank Brandon for his service to Waynflete athletics and for being a great colleague and friend.”

If his head coaching accomplishments weren’t impressive enough, Salway filled in as Waynflete’s athletic director during the 2003-04 school year, the year prior to Burdick’s arrival, and he also served as an assistant women’s basketball coach under Gary Fifield at the University of Southern Maine in 2005-06 (when the Huskies played in the national championship game) and again in 2006-07. Most recently, Salway served a five-year stint as an assistant under Kevin Millington with the South Portland boys’ basketball team, helping the Red Riots end a three-decade title drought in 2021-22.

Salway’s successor at Waynflete has not been named, but he or she will have some giant shoes to fill.

Salway, meanwhile, knows that when preseason rolls around in August, that’s when the void will hit him the hardest, but he knows that the Flyers will build from his foundation and continue to taste success.

“The most difficult part of this for me is I’m used to having a plan,” Salway said. “Right now, the plan is to feel better. I wouldn’t rule out (coaching again), but I don’t see it in the immediate future. This program will always be really important to me and I know that Ross will find the right person.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net.

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