Jim Dyer has been involved in collegiate athletics for 40 years, first as a player, then as a coach and most recently as an administrator.
Now, at age 63, he figures the time is right to slow down a bit and enjoy some free time.
Dyer, the director of athletics at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, announced Thursday he is retiring effective July 30.
“I’m looking forward to maybe some more relaxing and recreation in my life,” said Dyer, who has spent six years at the helm of Mariner athletics after a 22-year stint as a soccer coach and administrator at the University of Maine. “I’m looking to do more cycling, play more golf, do some kayaking, possibly.”
Dyer arrived at MMA in 2004 and has helped skipper the program to success as a member of the North Atlantic Conference and New England Football Conference. MMA has sent seven teams to the NCAA Division III championships, including women’s basketball (three), volleyball (three) and football.
Dyer also takes pride in the academic success of MMA student-athletes, whose overall grade point average consistently falls between 2.9 and 3.0.
“I absolutely love the Division III model and the way athletics is included in the total educational experience for the student-athlete,” said the Connecticut native.
Dyer also has been instrumental in numerous facilities improvements at MMA. They include a refurbished floor, a new ceiling and a new sound system in Margaret Chase Smith Gymnasium. Ritchie Field, the home of five Mariner teams, also has been updated with a Sprinturf surface, grandstands, a two-story press box, scoreboard and fencing.
Actually, Dyer admits he won’t be completely retired. He plans to work part time as a consultant with the NAC.
Since the league’s office is located in Vermont, Dyer will provide a permanent NAC presence in Maine managing championships, writing policies and procedures and working on campuses.
“I’m really pleased that that will allow me to continue to hopefully have an impact on college athletics from a conference perspective,” Dyer said.
Dyer also conceded the one-hour commute to and from Castine is an aspect of his current job he won’t miss, especially on days with late games.
Scott Atherley, who played for Dyer at UMaine and now coaches its women’s soccer team, said there is one key to his mentor’s success, regardless of the job.
“The thing that always stood out about him was his integrity,” Atherley said. “Whether attacking on field issues, personnel issues or administrative issues, he did everything the right way. Sometimes it was the hard way, but he was never the type of person to back away from anything.”
Dyer played soccer at the University of Connecticut (Class of 1969) where he earned undergraduate and master’s degrees. He began his coaching career as an assistant at UConn, then as the head coach at Eastern Connecticut State and Manchester Community College.
He was hired as UMaine’s head coach in 1982 and guided the Black Bears to a 95-74-20 record in 11 seasons. Dyer’s 1988 squad shared the North Atlantic Conference title — now the America East Conference — and his teams finished at or above .500 for 10 straight seasons.
In 1993, Dyer became UMaine’s assistant athletic director in charge of facilities and held the position until he replaced Bill Mottola at MMA.
Dyer has served as the chairman of the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Committee, was on the National Soccer Coaches Association Board of Directors, worked with the America East Conference Championships and Competition Committee and chaired the NAC Athletic Directors’ Council.
Dyer’s last season as a coach came as a UMaine assistant in 1993. Four of his former UMaine players are college head coaches, including Atherley, Pat Laughlin (Brown), John O’Connor (Rhode Island) and Gary Crompton (Bentley).
Greg Andrulis, who played for Dyer at ECSU, coaches at George Mason and Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew from 2001-05.
“I couldn’t have had a better role model and mentor,” Atherley said. “Ask me is there is any one individual who’s influenced my life and he’s at the top of the list. Everybody else is a distant second.”
Dyer, whose passion has been soccer, hopes he has made an impact.
“I hope in some way they saw what I was doing in soccer and could view me as a role model,” Dyer said. “I’m really proud of those guys and their accomplishments.”