RUMFORD — The only football coach Mountain Valley High School has even known is adding to his job duties.
Jim Aylward has accepted the post of athletic director at Mountain Valley High School.
The job includes part-time teaching duties. Aylward will continue to coach football at Mountain Valley, as he has since it formed with the merger of Rumford and Mexico schools in 1989.
Aylward’s new role was approved Monday night at the RSU 10 school board meeting.
He was approached during the winter by Superintendent Dr. Tom Ward and Mountain Valley principal Matt Gilbert. Both men felt that a teacher/AD model could be successful, and save money, if the right person were in place.
“I took it as a compliment,” Aylward said. “(Then we) spent the next few weeks setting ground rules and learning how they can help me to meet the demands of the job while fulfilling my desire to continue to teach and coach.”
Aylward replaces John Bernard, who spent the past seven years as the full-time athletic director at Mountain Valley.
Bernard, who turned 60 in January, is retiring.
“We are very excited about Jim Alyward’s approval as the next athletic director at MVHS,” Ward said. “He follows a great tradition of athletic directors. Jim will still coach football. I believe that Jim will catch on quickly, especially with a mentor like John Bernard helping him through the transition process.”
After more than two decades in education and athletics, Aylward has firsthand knowledge of what type of individual is needed as AD.
He considers himself fortunate to have experienced a variety of positions within three athletic departments — Mexico, Mountain Valley and Rangeley. In addition to football, Aylward has coached girls’ and boys’ junior varsity basketball, middle school basketball, varsity softball and track and field and middle school baseball.
“I expect this will help me be an asset to the coaches and kids in those programs,” said Aylward, who currently is assistant track coach at MV. “I think the 27 years as a teacher and coach can only be a plus.”
Aylward’s tireless, no-nonsense style of coaching is known statewide. Over the past two decades, Mountain Valley football has been one of the most successful programs in any class. The Falcons have won more than a dozen Campbell Conference championships, eight Western Class B regional titles and state crowns in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Aylward instills the importance of team unity to the players and said that he considers this new role as taking one for the team.
In making the analogy, he recalled asking players who were running backs or receivers to move to the offensive line. It is always done to give both the team and the individual the best possible chance to succeed.
“I have always understood that I am asking these kids to make a very personal sacrifice for the good of the other players,”Aylward said.
Aylward’s appointment also ensures that one or two quality, young English teachers will continue to serve the needs of the students at Mountain Valley High School.
“If I truly want what is best for our kids, doing what I can next year to ensure that my department mates continue to provide their services to our kids was extremely important,” he said.
Aylward added that he does not have any long-term goals for the position. He hopes that as enrollment numbers and budget numbers stabilize will lead to a permanent solution.
“My desire is to spend next year teaching my junior classes and performing the duties of athletic director. I have been very up-front with administration that I truly believe my best contribution to our school system will be teaching full-time again,” Aylward said.
The plan is to hire a part-time person, as RSU 10 neighbor Dirigo does, to assist Aylward with game supervision. This need will be most evident in the fall, when the AD wears his coaching hat.