AUGUSTA, Maine — Mike Bisson has planned and hosted numerous state championship sporting events during his five years as athletic administrator at Hampden Academy.

Similar organizing efforts will become a much greater element of his new job beginning July 1 when Bisson becomes an assistant executive director with the Maine Principals’ Association.

Bisson will replace the retiring Gerry Durgin of Gorham, himself a longtime former Maine high school athletic administrator who has worked with the MPA for the last six years.

“The people that have held these positions, the Mike Burnhams, Larry Labries and Gerry Durgins, I have such respect for those gentlemen,” said Bisson, who has served on several MPA committees including football, softball, unified sports and the interscholastic management in recent years during his tenures as an athletic administrator at Hampden and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln.

“I enjoy that type of work. The organizational work, the scheduling of facilities and events and working with site directors. To me that’s exciting stuff. We’ve run a lot of championship events at Hampden Academy so I think I’ve been prepared pretty well for that.”

MPA Executive Director Dick Durost said most of Bisson’s duties will be with the MPA’s interscholastic division and involve championship event planning and sports committee coordination. Bisson’s experiences as an assistant principal and elementary school principal also will prove beneficial to the association’s professional division.

“When you put all those pieces together with the fact we’re expanding that position from part time to full time and that we like to bring on people with experience on both sides that made him extremely well-qualified for the position,” Durost said. “He just brings a broad background.”

Bisson said his time at Hampden Academy has prepared him for his anticipated MPA duties.

“We’ve hosted field hockey championships and soccer championships on a regular basis and we hosted the Class A state track meet last spring,” he said. “If you can get through those as a site director with lining up all your game workers and event workers and ticket-takers and security, the safety piece and the crowd control, if you can do all of that, that’s a big chunk of the job.”

The hiring of Bisson to his new post — Durgin worked part-time for the MPA — is part of a modest reshuffling of duties among MPA senior staff. Durost is taking on more of a part-time role as of July 1 in advance of his planned retirement in 2019.

“We’ve been tossing around the number 60 percent,” said the 67-year-old Durost of his future workload. “I’ve got a feeling that depending on the time of year and what is going on that there will be times I’ll be pretty close to full time, but with Gerry leaving and us wanting to replace that position with a full-time position and with me getting near the end of my career it just seemed to make sense to look at how we could use that new person and new position.”

Durost, now in his 17th year as the MPA’s executive director, said he and the three assistant executive directors, Mike Burnham, Holly Couturier and Bisson, will meet this summer to discuss job responsibilities.

“Everything Mike, myself, Holly and Mike do is going to be put on the table and we’ll redistribute responsibilities based on who has the best background in a particular area and some cases where someone might have a great interest and might want to try something they haven’t done before,” he said.

“Certainly I’ll keep some of what I’m doing and Mike (Burnham) without a doubt will keep much of what he’s been doing, but there’s going to be some shifting around so we can use the four people we have in the best possible way.”

Durgin was a teacher, coach and athletic administrator at Fryeburg Academy, Telstar of Bethel and Gorham high schools for a total of 38 years before joining the MPA in 2011.

He served on the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association board of directors for 15 years and was assistant executive director from 1997 to 2005. He also served a four-year term on the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association board of directors and as the organization’s president in 2007.

Durgin was inducted into the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association’s Hall of Fame in 2013.

“Right off I think about the classification committee and how Gerry has taken the conversation and thoughtfulness behind that committee to a whole new level,” Durost said.

“It used to be that classification was a six-month process and then we’d put something before the membership and if it made sense it would be accepted. Under Gerry’s leadership along with the leadership of (Mount Desert Island High School activities director) Bunky Dow as chair of that committee for the last two cycles, they have turned that from a six-month process to an 18-month process and thus we’ve been able to look at many more of the nuances without being rushed.

“Gerry has approached everything he has done with that same deliberativeness and thoughtfulness,” added Durost.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...