BUCKSPORT, Maine — Mike Carrier said he doesn’t remember his first win as the head softball coach at Bucksport High School, because he didn’t expect to be coaching.
That was 501 wins ago.
Tuesday’s 4-2 victory over defending state Class D champion Searsport was his 502nd.
He reached the 500-win plateau last week with a 10-0 victory over defending two-time Class C North titlist Dexter.
“It was just another game, really. Five hundred just shows how old I am, I guess,” said the 66-year-old Carrier.
During his 33 seasons as the head coach, Carrier has guided the Bucks to five state championships and 22 appearances in regional championship games in Classes B and C.
Carrier said he hasn’t even considered retirement.
“For the last 10 years, my wife has asked me if I was getting done,” Carrier said. “I tell her no, they’re going to have to carry me out of there on a stretcher.”
Once he began his career as a head coach, Carrier said he knew he was in it for the long haul.
“I knew as soon as I started doing it that I loved it,” said Carrier, who was Bob Mercer’s assistant for seven years as the duo led the Bucks to state Class B championships in 1984, ’86 and ’87.
Carrier, who played baseball and football at Bucksport High School, began coaching softball when his younger sister asked him to coach her summer league team. He was in his early 20s and his sister told him if he didn’t coach, she wouldn’t be able to play softball that summer.
Over the years, he also coached football, including at the Pop Warner level.
“Girls are really great. Girls want to learn. They want to get better,” he said. “You see a lot of guys whose parents told them they had to play. And it wasn’t as much fun [coaching].”
He also loves the sport of softball.
“I really enjoy the speed of the game. I enjoy strategizing,” he said. “And I don’t deviate from the norm.”
One of those “norms” is bringing an outfielder in to become a fifth infielder when the opposing team has the bases loaded and there are fewer than two outs.
Bucksport High School junior pitcher Ella Hosford said she and her teammates felt a lot of pressure last week when they sought Carrier’s 500th victory against defending two-time regional champ Dexter.
“There was more pressure than a playoff game because we wanted it for him more than anything,” Hosford said. “It was real good for him and for us as a team.”
The Bucks are 15-1 and will be the top seed for the Class C North playoffs. They will come into the playoffs riding a 10-game winning streak.
The Bucks’ only loss was to Class B North contender Ellsworth on May 3. Ellsworth took a 12-3 record into its regular season finale against rival Mount Desert Island.