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Aylward named MVHS athletic director
RUMFORD -- There's times when adjustments need to be made and that’s precisely how Jim Aylward is approaching his new responsibility of athletic director/part-time teacher at Mountain Valley High School.
The longtime football accepted the newly created dual positions recently at the RSU 10 school board meeting. He was approached during the winter by Supt. Tom Ward and MV Principal Matt Gilbert, who both felt a teacher/AD model could be successful, and save money, if the right person was in place.
“I took it as a compliment,” said Aylward. “(Then) spent the next few weeks setting ground rules and learning how they can help me to meet the demands of the job while fulfilling my desire to continue to teach and coach.”
Aylward replaces John Bernard, who spent the past seven years as the full-time athletic director at Mountain Valley, and will retire.
“We are very excited about Jim Alyward's approval as the next athletic director at MVHS,” said Ward. “He follows a great tradition of athletic directors. I believe that Jim will catch on quickly, especially with a mentor like John Bernard helping him through the transition process.”
After over two decades in education/athletics, Aylward has firsthand knowledge of what type of individual is needed as AD. He considers himself fortunate to have experienced a variety of positions within three athletic departments. Other than football, which he steadfastly is committed to, he has plenty of experience, having coached girls' and boys' JV high school basketball, middle school basketball at Rangeley, varsity softball at Mexico and middle school baseball for two different schools.
“I expect this will help me be an asset to the coaches and kids in those programs,” said Aylward, who currently is assistant track coach at MV. “I think the 27 years as a teacher and coach can only be a plus.”
Aylward has served as the MV head football coach since the merger between Rumford-Mexico in 1989. This tireless brand of no-nonsense, hard-nosed coaching has become well known statewide. Current and former players, in this blue-collar community, totally respect the face of Falcon football and the feeling is quite mutual.
Over the past two decades, MV football has consistently achieved the most success of any program in the state, including more than one dozen Campbell Conference championships, eight Western Class B regional championships, state crowns in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Aylward instills the importance of team unity to the players and considers this new role as taking one for the team. This analogy helps put things in perspective, recalling many examples as a football coach, asking fullbacks or skill position players to move to the offensive line. It is always done to help the team get its best possible chance to succeed.
“I have always understood that I am asking these kids to make a very personal sacrifice for the good of the other players,” said Aylward, who further expounded on his degree of unselfishness.
The position ensures that a quality young (English) teacher or two can continue to serve the needs of the students at MVHS, which became as important in this decision as any other factor.
“If I truly want what is best for our kids, doing what I can next year to ensure my department mates continue to provide their services to our kids was extremely important,” he said.
Aylward recognized the opportunity to be a team player. However, he doesn’t have any longterm goals for this position and hopes that as enrollment numbers and budget numbers stabilize, a longterm solution can be formulated.
“I haven't wavered on one idea," said Aylward. “My desire is to spend next year teaching my junior classes and performing the duties of athletic director. I have been very upfront with administration that I truly believe my best contribution to our school system will be teaching fulltime again.”
The plan is to hire a parttime person, like Dirigo does, to assist Aylward with game supervisions. This anticipated need will be most evident in the fall.