Andy Stephenson has stepped down as the head ice hockey coach at Bangor’s John Bapst High School and he will be replaced by his assistant, Chris Tanis.
Stephenson spent three seasons behind the bench for the Crusaders, compiling a 24-28-4 record. Tanis was with him all three years.
Stephenson said he wants to spend more time with wife Susan (Price) and their three children, Teddy, Georgie and Jack. He will remain on the staff as a volunteer assistant.
“The kids need more dad time. The oldest kids like to ski and snowboard so we’ll be spending more time at Sugarloaf this winter,” said Stephenson, the son-in-law of Husson University football coach Gabby Price.
“I loved coaching and that’s why I’m still going to be a part of it. I’ll commit to two or three practices a week and I’ll be in the stands for the games, not on the bench.”
John Bapst athletic director Rick Sinclair said Stephenson did a “great job.
“He was a good representative of our school. His hockey knowledge is as high as anyone’s in the area. But family comes first and I don’t blame him,” said Sinclair.
Sinclair said Tanis was one of four applicants for the job.
“One of the things I really like is the ability to have some continuity going forward with the program,” said Sinclair. “Chris is a high-energy guy. He has a lot of coaching experience. He has youth hockey coaching in his background and coached a lot of our kids before they got to John Bapst. He has a lot of passion for John Bapst hockey and takes a lot of pride in it.”
Stephenson said Tanis is the right choice for the job.
“He’s a great coach,” said Stephenson.
“I’m extremely thrilled. I’m looking forward to working with the administration and the student-athletes. I’ve been coaching for 20 years. It’s something I love to do,” said the 38-year-old Tanis.
Tanis played two years of hockey at Bangor High before transferring to North Yarmouth Academy, where he played his junior and senior years. He played one season of college hockey at Plymouth State in New Hampshire.
John Bapst went 21-14-3 in Stephenson’s first two seasons but forwards Kodi Legassie and Anthony Cambria transferred to Bangor High and brothers Tyler and Josh Wheeler transferred to their hometown school, Old Town High, and played for Old Town-Orono this past season.
That left Stephenson with a youthful team that included only four seniors with 14 freshmen and sophomores. The Crusaders went 3-14-1 and missed the Class B North playoffs.
“It was an important year for us. The kids had to overcome adversity and learn how to be a team,” said Tanis, whose late mother, Mary, was a prominent skating instructor in Bangor. “You learn a lot of life lessons through sports.”
He said he has great respect for Stephenson and is glad he will still be involved in the program.
“I learned a lot from him,” said Tanis.
Tanis is optimistic about the future.
“We have a lot of talent coming back. Everybody is energized,” said Tanis, who lives in Glenburn with his wife, Desiree, and their son Gavin, although Gavin is currently attending Hebron Academy.