Through nearly three decades in school administration, Bruce Lindberg has never strayed far from basketball.
Whether serving on the Maine Principals’ Association basketball committee, working to start a postgraduate basketball program at Lee Academy or through his friendship with Gregg Popovich, head coach of the five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, the sport has remained an important part of his life.
Lindberg, who coached high school varsity basketball for 13 years before heading into administration, is returning to those teaching roots after being named Tuesday evening as the boys varsity basketball coach at Bucksport High School.
“Bucksport has always had great athletes and great athletic spirit, and I believe we can have some good success here,” said Lindberg, who met with his players at the school Wednesday morning.
Lindberg replaces Josh Tripp, who won’t return for a seventh year of coaching the Golden Bucks after being named principal of Bucksport Middle School earlier this year.
Tripp guided Bucksport to a 10-10 record last winter, with the Golden Bucks defeating Piscataquis of Guilford in an Eastern Maine Class C preliminary-round contest before being ousted by top-ranked Houlton in the regional quarterfinals. Houlton went on to win the state championship.
“Josh Tripp did everything right, and the program has been getting better,” said Dan Clifford, Bucksport High School principal. “We want to continue that, and Bruce wants to continue that.”
The 63-year-old Lindberg retired earlier this year from his position as headmaster at Lee Academy where he was well known for his pioneering efforts to recruit international students to attend Maine schools.
“I retired from Lee Academy in January and was looking for some things to do to fill in the gaps,” said Lindberg, who lives in Bangor. “I work for Washington Academy [of East Machias] in the fall and spring traveling overseas as part of the school’s student recruitment effort, but I had the whole middle of the winter free, and this job came open, so I threw my hat in the ring.”
The Rumford native began his varsity coaching career during the mid-1970s at Dirigo High School in Dixfield, then spent one season at Skowhegan before an eight-year stint at Ellsworth High School from 1979 to 1987.
Lindberg spent his last two years at Ellsworth doubling as the school’s assistant principal, the beginning of his career in school administration that included four years as principal at Bucksport High School from 1989 to 1993.
“He’s great with kids,” said Clifford. “He’s a people person, he has a great personality and the kids will love him.”
Snell takes new tournament post
Allan Snell is set to conclude a 47½-year career in education June 30, but the superintendent of schools for AOS 47 serving Orrington and Dedham isn’t leaving the arena entirely.
Snell has been named co-director of the Eastern Maine Classes B, C and D basketball tournament, filling the vacancy left by the death of longtime former Bangor High School principal Norris Nickerson earlier this year.
Snell will share the director duties with Jerry Goss of Brewer, with whom he worked in school administration when both were employed by the Brewer school department.
Snell, a Madison native who began his teaching career in Bingham in 1967, was offered the position by Dick Durost, the executive director of the Maine Principals’ Association, while attending an annual legal conference in Freeport in early May.
“I was looking for things to do in retirement, and this fit in well,” said Snell.
Snell has worked in a variety of capacities at the Eastern Maine basketball tournament since 1977, but he is best known as one of the annual event’s public address announcers. He served in that capacity for some two decades, working games himself and also serving as the assignor for games he didn’t announce.
Snell said that with his new duties he won’t be able to continue those public address duties, save for a possible fill-in role.
Snell also is a well-known high school football official, though he plans to scale back those duties in retirement. He still plans to work some varsity games on busy weekends and will serve as the area’s subvarsity football official game assignor.