OLD TOWN, Maine — Steve Calande, who worked during the last two years to rebuild the Old Town High School football program, is leaving that post to take a teaching and coaching job out of state.
Calande said he tendered his resignation to school officials Monday, and while he did not name his new destination he said it would allow him to live closer to where he grew up as well as be near some aging relatives.
Calande said his new job will be both as a physical education teacher and a coach.
“What I’ve really been looking for is to get back into teaching,” said Calande, a father of four children who had worked as an educational technician at the Southern Penobscot Regional Program in Old Town since taking the Old Town football post after a two-year coaching stint in Boothbay.
Calande also has coached middle school baseball and basketball while in Old Town.
Calande came to the Canoe City in 2010 as the football team’s sixth coach in eight years. He immediately installed a double-wing offense and guided the Coyotes — a program that had gone 4-62 between 2002 and 2009 — to a 5-3 record in the LTC Class C ranks, the team’s first winning season since 1997.
Old Town moved back up to Class B in 2011 after voluntarily dropping to Class C for the previous three years in an effort to preserve the struggling program. The Coyotes finished 2-6 in Pine Tree Conference Class B play last fall despite an offense that averaged 34 points per game.
“From the Xs and Os side these kids know what they’re doing,” Calande said. “We repped the daylights out of it so most of the kids can do what we do in their sleep.”
During his tenure at Old Town, Calande also helped establish a parents’ boosters group called the Touchdown Club and started a before-school workout program for students called GUTS, which stands for “Get up, train and succeed.”
“I really feel good about the situation here,” Calande said.
Increasing the number of football players in the Old Town system also was a priority.
“In the first year we had a pretty good turnout,” Calande said. “We carried right around 40 players, though with injuries we dropped to as low as 26 at one point. But we had 38 to 42 players again last year.
“We had a large freshman class with 17 kids last year, and there’s some talent there.”
Calande added that the commitment of the current Old Town football players was reflected in the turnout for offseason open gym workouts.
“We had 75 workouts in the weight room where anyone in the school could come in,” he said. “And we had 85 percent participation from the football guys.”
School officials will have to move fairly quickly to find a replacement for Calande, with preseason practices set to begin in less than three months.
One candidate is expected to be current varsity assistant coach Lance Cowan.