OAKLAND — Longtime Messalonskee softball coach Leo Bouchard has resigned, citing the physical demands of the job.

Bouchard, 59, of Oakland, had been with the program 17 years, including the last 11 as head coach.

“I have bad arthritis in my knees,” he said. “It’s been killing me for awhile. I just can’t do what I used to do. It was time.”

Bouchard transformed the Eagles into a state title contender in recent seasons. The Eagles won the Class A state title in 2015.

“That’s what I’ll remember the most,” he said. “Going all the way. You just don’t know what it feels like until you go through it yourself.”

Messalonskee athletic director Tommy Hill said the search to replace Bouchard will soon begin.

“I haven’t even advertised it yet,” he said. “I just officially got his resignation so we’ll start the process this week of advertising and we’ll go from there. I don’t see much happening before the start of school year.”

Bouchard also guided the Eagles to four Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships and two regional titles in his tenure.

He said he informed the team at the beginning of the season that this would be his final season.

“I told them that this was it,” he said. “This was going to be my last ride.”

Messalonskee earned the top seed in the A North playoffs, but fell to Edward Little 1-0 in the semifinals.

“In the six years I’ve worked with him he did an excellent job,” Hill said. “He’s very, very passionate about softball. He put in the time and the effort. He’s going to be hard to replace.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5618

[email protected]

Twitter: @billstewartMTM

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