Alfred “Bunky” Dow experienced a range of emotions recently after being named Maine’s high school athletic administrator of the year.
“Shocked, humbled, appreciative and a little bit embarrassed,” said Dow, now in his 24th year as director of student activities at Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor. “I don’t consider it a job, it’s something I love to do. I’m just so grateful to this community for being so supportive of extracurricular activities for their children.”
Dow became the 34th recipient of the Robert J. Lahey Athletic Director of the Year Award as presented by the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association during its annual spring conference at the Samoset Resort in Rockport.
This award is presented annually from nominations received from athletic administrators around the state. Dow was honored “in recognition of his outstanding work at his school, within the Penobscot Valley Conference, the Maine Principals’ Association and for the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.”
Dow, a 1978 MDI High School graduate, is the second Lahey Award recipient from the school. Bernard Parady was presented the award in 1984.
Dow has worked at his alma mater since graduating from Husson University in 1982 with a degree in business administration, initially being hired at MDI as a long-term substitute business teacher and by Parady as a baseball coach.
“I jumped at the chance,” he said.
Dow has gone on to serve in several capacities at the school, including a 15-year stint as varsity baseball coach as well as coaching various levels of other sports.
He was named MDI’s student activities director in 1990, and since then has been active in numerous conference and statewide athletic endeavors as well as overseeing the MDI athletic department and other extracurricular activities.
He has served as secretary of the PVC and been heavily involved in the management of a variety of individual sports for the league. He also has been president of the Big East basketball conference.
At the state level, Dow has served on the MPA cheering and softball committees and chairs the MPA’s classification committee.
Dow also has served as a liaison from the MIAAA to the MPA’s interscholastic management committee. He was MIAAA president in 2003-04, and currently is an assistant executive director of the organization.
He received the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association State Award of Merit in 2011.
Dow is quick to thank the coaches, faculty, staff and administrators at MDI for their roles in helping him do his job, but he is especially grateful for the support of his wife of nearly 32 years, Tammy — particularly her understanding of the unpredictable nature of his work from day to day.
And it’s that quality of the job that provides much of its appeal to Dow.
“I love it that it’s so unpredictable,” he said. “I have a list to try to get through each day, but usually more things are added on than are checked off. I like it that way.”
Dow has seen his job evolve fairly significantly over the years.
“One of the big things is there’s a lot more parent involvement now, but I don’t take that as a bad thing, I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “Coaches and parents really want the same thing, they want the best for their children.”
Dow said he has relied on a basic, three-point philosophy for guidance during his nearly quarter-century on the job.
“If you’re consistent, if you communicate and if you’re honest, things usually will go pretty well,” he said.
Dow was among a group of athletic administrators and others honored during the MIAAA spring conference.
Others recognized were:
— Ted Welch, York High School, Martin Ryan Award for Excellence in Athletic Administration.
— Doran Stout, Erskine Academy of South China, Gerald Durgin Award for Leadership in Athletic Administration.
— Bob Sinford, Machias Memorial High School, NIAAA State Award of Merit.
— Jason Fuller, Lewiston High School, MIAAA Past President’s Special Achievement Award.
— Chris Sementelli, Maine General Sports Medicine, Lawrence LaBrie MIAAA Distinguished Service Award (statewide).
— Jim Poulin, Winslow High School, Distinguished Service Award (local level).
— Ken Holck, WHOU-FM, Houlton, MIAAA Electronic Media Award.
— John Cochin, Sanford Times, MIAAA Print Media Award.