LEWISTON — Meet programs, team rosters and the high school yearbook will no longer list Tom Stocker as the Lewiston High School swim coach. He has officially resigned.
But that doesn’t mean he’s going very far.
“I’m going to continue on in a volunteer capacity, help out with the paperwork and the in-house recruiting of kids,” Stocker said. “It’s tough for people who aren’t in the building to see (AD Jason) Fuller, to contact the kids, to hold meetings and put out announcements and that kind of thing.”
Stocker will remain a teacher at Lewiston High School, though he will no longer count head swim coach among his titles.
“Tom has done a great job with the program, and he’s really helped push the program to the next level,” Fuller said. “We’re definitely going to miss him, and the program is going to miss him.”
Stocker cited personal reasons for his decision to step down.
“The demands of keeping up with teaching classes, and we’re anticipating a move at some point down to the Bath area, building a house,” Stocker said. “I’m going to free up some time to just kind of make all of that happen, hopefully.”
That Stocker has agreed to remain on as a volunteer to help ease the program’s transition was music to Fuller’s ears.
“I think that’s the key to this,” Fuller said. “Tom is still going to be in the building and is still going to be able to work in connection with the swim program to make sure the kids have a contact in the building, someone to go to about swimming. He’s not walking away entirely, but he won’t be the man in charge every day at practice, and I think that’s what he wanted and needed for him and his family to take the next step in their lives.”
That connection to family, Stocker said, is what drove him to the sport — and to coaching — in the first place.
“Swimming has done so much for the lives of my own children,” Stocker said. “They swam for years and years, and it’s been such a positive peer group. The self-discipline and the structure that’s required in a student’s life, it really helps to carry them forward into college … It’s individual, so you need to be in your own mind, but also you have the team aspect of it. And when kids are aiming for college and for academic success, there’s the same individual component and yet you’re working with other students and professors in your own class, and you have to be motivated to go for extra help when necessary.
“I just see so many parallels between athletics and academics, striving and achieving and all that, and I just wanted to give back, at least for a little while,” Stocker continued. “I wanted to keep the program up there, keep kids excited about swimming, and I felt it was a great way for me to be able to give back to the program and to all the other parents and adults who have done so much for the kids.”
With his decision to remain involved as much as he can, Stocker is ultimately hoping whomever takes over will be able to do so without too many growing pains.
“I hope the kids feel like it’s almost a seamless transition, really,” Stocker said. “I think a lot of the things that we started are going to stay the same, and that’s part of the idea, having given the program a boost to keep it going.”
Fuller said Wednesday the position is still open, and that he is currently accepting applications.