WINTHROP — The college degree, books, binders, awards and family photos already decorate the walls and the desk in Chris Moreau’s office at Winthrop High School.

Pretty efficient for a guy whose athletes officially started the 2013-14 sports year before he did.

Moreau, 41, was approved less than a week ago as the new athletic and co-curricular director and dean of students at the high school and middle school.

Thursday, August 22 — three days after the start of fall practice — was his first official day. Although, truth be told, he already had been trying on his many hats out of necessity.

“I actually represented Winthrop at the latest (Mountain Valley Conference ADs) meeting, which was pretty cool. I hadn’t quite been appointed yet,” Moreau said. “Starting that late we already had the fall sports teams off and running. We’re blessed to be here. I’m pretty pumped up.”

The Jay native is no stranger to the far-flung but close-knit MVC.

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Moreau arrives at Winthrop after two years as AD/assistant principal at Dirigo High School in Dixfield and two years at Lisbon. He replaces Dwayne Conway, who left Winthrop after one year to become principal of Maranacook Community School in Readfield.

“With the changing of the position, the most difficult part is figuring out how to function within my own world,” Moreau said. “Working with the MVC — I was the vice president for two years — that’s not an issue at all.”

Winthrop joins Dirigo, Lisbon, Monmouth, Spruce Mountain, St. Dom’s and Wiscasset as schools in the conference entering the year with a new athletic administrator.

Moreau can relate to the revolving door in the profession. Dirigo was already his sixth stop in a nine-year adminstrative career.

“Big and small and back and forth,” said Moreau, who also worked in South Portland, Scarbrough, Dexter and Sumner. “I age myself real quick when I start thinking about things like that. But we’re in a place that we love.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us as a league. Those of us that are returning bring a lot of experience to the table, at least, which is nice,” he added. “I have no aspirations about climbing the corporate ladder. I love being an AD. I love being an assistant or dean of students. I love that. I love being with the kids. It seems like the higher you go up the ladder, the farther you get removed from kids.”

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Moreau arrives at Winthrop at a time when its proud athletic program appears to be on an upswing after a period of declining wins and dipping enrollment.

The Ramblers have more than 60 players out for their newly minted Class D football program after forming a co-operative team with Monmouth. Field hockey is the defending Eastern Class C champion. Baseball has made two straight trips to the Western Class C semifinals and will field a team dominated by juniors and seniors in the spring.

“They’ve got some great coaches and a great feeder system. The kids are working hard. Their emphasis has been put in the right place,” Moreau said. “Their emphasis is on sportsmanship and doing things right. I’ve always believed that if you put your emphasis on skill development and sportsmanship, winning is a natural by-product.”

One likely reason for the rampant turnover in AD positions is the “slash,” in multiple senses of the word. If administrators aren’t bogged down by the keystroke in their job title (high/middle school, AD/assistant principal, sports/co-curriculars), they’re burdened by extra-curricular budgets that are continually cut.

Moreau faces all those challenges in Winthrop. He’ll be covering sports and artistic activities such as band and drama at both the high school and the neighboring middle school.

“Soup to nuts. The job is definitely 100 percent high school and 100 percent middle school,” he said with a laugh, “so somewhere in between we’re going to figure out how it all works. I’ve just got to wear my sneakers every day, that’s all.”

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Moreau credited principals Keith Morin of the high school and Karen Criss of the middle school with easing his transition.

He met the fall coaches within the past week.

“They’ve rolled out the red carpet,” Moreau said. “These people are unreal. Very supportive.”

Both the hospitality and the opportunity are a godsend, said Moreau, who didn’t know as recently a few weeks ago if he would be working in education this year.

As quickly as he’s become acclimated, Moreau has been reminded what he would have missed about it.

“I enjoy being on the sidelines. I enjoy being with my coaches,” he said. “The smell of hot dogs in the fall at a night football game, the fries, those are the reasons you do it. I love being around kids and I love being around sports, so that part makes it pretty cool.”

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