Ian Wilson goes by the old saying that you can be okay at three things, good at two and great at one.

With that in mind, Wilson pared down his coaching responsibilities to one team on Wednesday, announcing that he would be stepping down after eight seasons as head coach of the Waterville High School girls soccer team. The move will allow him to devote more time as an assistant track and field coach at Colby College.

Wilson, who coached the Purple Panthers to two state championships — a Class A title in 2008 and a Class B title in 2014 — said he suspected he would have to give up his high school coaching jobs when he took the position at Colby last year. He resigned as Waterville’s indoor and outdoor track coach last summer but wanted to give the possibility of keeping the soccer job a little more thought before making a decision.

“I’ve been coaching three seasons a year since 1997,” said Wilson, 48. “That takes an incredible amount of energy.”

“Basically, coaching is constantly confronting mediocrity and trying inspire people to do better than the day before,” he added. “It’s tough to summon the energy to do that on a daily basis.”

The time demands for coaches are greater now than when Wilson started coaching in the early 1990s, he said. Scouting and working with youth programs, rarely considered part of a head coaches’ duties 20 years ago, are now essential parts of the job.

“When you coach and teach, you do more every year,” said Wilson, an English teacher at Waterville High School. “I can’t believe how much more I do now than 10 years ago. You keep adding new things to make you a better coach and teacher and to make your kids better, and you also keep doing the things that have worked for you in the past.”

Wilson met with the soccer players in his classroom after school on Wednesday to inform them of his decision.

“I think it was probably the worst-kept secret in school. It’s unusual to have a team meeting this time of year,” he said. “I told them the time demands at Colby were muchy greater. I don’t think any of them were stunned. They were very supportive.”

“We all saw it coming,” said Fotini Shanos, a junior striker, “pretty much from the beginning of the (school) year when he got the job at Colby.”

Shanos said she and her teammates were nevertheless sad to see Wilson go.

“He’s an amazing coach,” she said. “He would push us so hard. We were always well-conditioned. We were all so close and things were so much different than the year before in terms of chemistry because of him.”

“I think it’s going to be pretty difficult next year, especially for us (would-be) seniors because we’re so used to him. Having a new coach next year will make it tough,” she said.

Waterville athletic director Heidi Bernier said the school was “fortunate to have such a spectacular, hard-working coach within our program.”

“I’m certainly happy for him and understand why he needs to leave but, similar to when he stepped down from track, it’s a significant loss for Waterville athletics,” she said.

Wilson began his career, which also included stints at Messalonskee High School and Thomas College, at Mount View High School in 1992. He led the Mustangs to the Class B state title with an upset win over Yarmouth in 1996.

“I kept having the same feeling about this team this past fall as I had with the 1996 Mount View team,” he said. “That team was an overwhelming underdog to Yarmouth, and this team was an underdog to Cape Elizabeth. And I just kept having that same funny feeling that they were going to do something special.”

Led by All-American senior striker Pilar Elias and Morning Sentinel Player of the Year senior midfielder Lydia Roy, the Purple Panthers beat the Capers in overtime, 1-0, to cap a perfect 18-0 season. Last week, that team was one of 10 girls teams in the country to be presented with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy for finishing the season ranked 60th in the nation by MaxPreps.

Yet Wilson believes his most talented team was the 2008 Class A state champion, led by All-Americans Stephanie Whitten and Jordan Pellerin.

“That was really just a remarkable collection of the sun, moon and stars aligning,” said Wilson, who coached six teams to state title games. “That was one of the greatest teams I ever saw in the state of Maine.”

Although they’ll lose Elias, Roy, all-conference midfielder Sarah Shoulta, and defenders Brooke Ettinger and Morgann Tortorella, the Panthers are in good shape for next season and the forseeable future, Wilson said.

“I think they’ve got a very, very strong core of young players,” he said. “They’ll be a little young, but those young players are very talented, and the seniors did a wonderful job of leadership, teaching them great work ethic, patience and confidence on the field.”

Bernier said assistant coach Ed Worcester will take care of pressing soccer responsibilities such as developing a schedule for the summer. She expects the school will post the position by the end of the week and form a search committee to conduct interviews, with hopes of hiring a new coach by mid-April or May.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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