Aaron Wilcox had a game plan for the future of the Bangor Christian boys soccer program he had coached to eight state championships in the past 21 years.
He would continue coaching the Patriots while his two sons — both key contributors to state championship efforts under their dad at the school on outer Broadway — went off to college.
Eventually they would return to Maine, gain coaching experience as assistants under their father and eventually take over the program so dad could step down to enjoy life on the family’s Alton homestead.
“But things change,” Wilcox said.
Older son Brandon is now the father of two young daughters, and he and younger brother Bradley have remained in Pennsylvania since graduating from Lancaster Bible College.
And with daughter Amber still a student at that school, Aaron Wilcox and his wife Melinda decided it is time to join the rest of their family in the Keystone State.
The Wilcoxes will leave Maine on Aug. 31, and for Aaron Wilcox it will mark the first autumn in more than two decades that he hasn’t led the Bangor Christian boys soccer team.
“The combination of the consistency he brought to the program, the energy that he poured into developing the skill and just his love for the kids, those three things were the equation for success,” Bangor Christian Athletic Administrator Jon McAllian said.
During the past decade, the Patriots captured seven Class D state championships during a nine-year span from 2009 through 2017 — with five consecutive titles at one point along with a 64-match winning streak.
“There’s obviously a lot of special moments, but every year is different because you’re always losing kids and gaining kids,” Wilcox said. “Every year is special in its own right.”
Bangor Christian won its first state title under Wilcox in 2005, and four years later the Patriots’ dynasty began. It was led by a coaching staff that included one of Wilcox’s former high school teammates, Jimmy Alexander, as well as Darryl Peary, who had started the Bangor Christian soccer program.
“Both my boys were on the team, too, and friends of mine that I played with in high school, some of their kids were on the team so it was just an amazing year,” Wilcox said.
Making it even more memorable for Wilcox was his son Brandon’s return from a back injury to score the winning goal in Bangor Christian’s 2-1 victory over Richmond in the 2009 Class D state final.
“Brandon had been wearing a back brace for six months because of a broken bone in his back [that was discovered during the 2008-09 basketball season],” Wilcox said.
“[He] wasn’t cleared to play soccer until the end of September in 2009, then he went on to score eight of our 11 goals in the playoffs,” he said.
After that season, Bangor Christian became the first boys soccer team in Maine to capture five straight state championships, also winning in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. That era
included Bradley Wilcox’s then-state record of 107 career goals.
“When you start building streaks like that and your program is rolling, you always want to develop confidence in your players, but you’ve got to be careful that your players don’t get overconfident and become very casual in what they’re doing, and that they also don’t get arrogant,” Wilcox said.
Bangor Christian’s championship streak ended with a loss to Richmond in the 2014 state final,
but the Patriots returned to the top with back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.
“It’s just been an awesome experience with a lot of good kids, a lot of good families,” Wilcox said. “It’s been a great journey and opportunity I’ve had, and to be at your own school and do it there has been very special.”
Former players and other supporters of the program honored Wilcox on Monday with a sendoff reception at the school, where he had his picture taken for the first time with all of the state championship trophies won under his watch.
“There’s just some unbelievably mixed emotions, and they’re getting stronger with each day that goes by because it’s been 39 years for me at the school,” Wilcox said.
He entered Bangor Christian as a student nearly four decades ago and since has been linked to it as a parent, teacher, athletic director and coach (soccer and boys basketball).
Wilcox has received numerous honors for his coaching efforts, most notably after the 2016 season when he w as named national coach of the year in the private-parochial division by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Wilcox has been replaced as Bangor Christian boys soccer coach by Jason Lewis, a former college player with three children who attend the school.
Wilcox also plans to coach again once he gets settled in Pennsylvania.
“My goal is to keep going,” he said.