SKOWHEGAN —  The idea of retirement is something Skowhegan Area High School football coach Mike Marston has thought of for a couple years. On Friday, Marston decided to make it official.

“I have some health issues I have to deal with,” Marston said. “I felt like the timing is right.”

Marston said he felt now, coming off a season in which the Indians went 5-4 and were in the hunt for a playoff spot until the last week of the season, was a good time to retire. Marston said he broke the news to the Skowhegan football team on Friday morning.

“We just had a great group of kids, a really close team,” Marston said. “They’ll be fine and they know it. I’ll be supporting them. They get a lot of support from the community.”

Marston was head coach at Skowhegan the past eight seasons, building a record of 40-37. He led the Indians to the Pine Tree Conference title in 2008, and to the conference championship game three times.

Teaching the game is what he’ll miss the most, Marston said.

“Working with the kids, I think, is number one,” Marston said. “I feel blessed to have done it for so long.”

Marston began his coaching career as an assistant at Messalonskee High School in 1979, before becoming the Eagles’ head coach in 1985. In 1989, Marston moved on to Colby College, where after coaching various positions, he became the defensive coordinator.  In 1994, Marston returned to the high school level as Skowhegan’s defensive coordinator before returning to Messalonskee, where he was defensive coordinator for four years. In 2001, Marston was back with the Indians as an assistant to then head coach Bob LeCours, before taking over as head coach at Skowhegan with the 2004 season.

“I’ve had a great time. The years blur together for me,” Marston said. “The best time to get out is when you still love what you do.”

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