Jon Christopher wants to watch his son and daughter play college basketball.
And he wasn’t going to see many of their games if he continued as the athletic director at Skowhegan High School.
Christopher stepped down after seven years in his second stint as the Skowhegan athletic director and is being replaced by Brian Jones, who was the assistant principal at Lawrence High School in Fairfield for three years after teaching social studies at Lawrence for 17 years.
Christopher’s son, Marcus, will be a senior at the University of Southern Maine and his daughter, Jaycie, will be a freshman at Boston University.
“I want a little more of a flexible schedule. My plan is to not be working from Thanksgiving to March,” said the 50-year-old Christopher. “I want to be able to watch my own kids and not someone else’s kids.”
He will continue to work for the school department in Skowhegan as he will be in charge of maintaining the athletic fields for the middle school and high school.
Christopher, whose previous stint as the athletic director was from 1996-2001, said that COVID-19 has been difficult on athletic directors.
Shortages of bus drivers and officials have compounded the problems facing athletic directors, who were already dealing with complicated scheduling throughout the pandemic.
“There has been a real shortage in the work force. You wind up doing a lot more maintenance on the fields and even having to do custodial stuff, which you didn’t have to do before COVID,” Christopher said. “I honestly think I worked 3,500 hours last year. That’s a ridiculous amount.”
Christopher played on two state Class C championship football teams at Madison High School in 1988 and ’89. He also played basketball for the Bulldogs.
He went on to the University of Maine where arm surgery ended his football career. He graduated with a degree in structural engineering in 1994.
He then returned to Madison High where he was an assistant football coach for a year before serving as the head coach for two seasons.
That was followed by his first stint as the Skowhegan athletic director but he stepped down after his son’s birth and taught math for 15 years so he could coach his children and spend more time with them and wife Kristy.
His son and daughter were both Bangor Daily News All-Maine basketball players.
Jaycie was a two-time first-teamer who became the first girl to win Miss Maine Basketball and Miss Maine Softball this past season.
Marcus was an All-Maine third team selection.
During Christopher’s recent tenure, Skowhegan won five Class A North and three state championships in field hockey, four regional titles and one state title in softball, a state crown in wrestling, a regional and state title in girls basketball, and a regional championship in football.
Christopher said he will help mentor Jones as he makes the transition to athletic director and that he feels Jones is a good choice to replace him.
Jones said he is “excited” about the new job and glad Christopher will be on hand to guide him.
“Jon was a great AD. I have big shoes to fill. It will be good to have him help me and mentor me,” said the 45-year-old Jones, who lives in Skowhegan with wife Jaime, daughter Lydia and son Andrew.
He feels he is coming into a positive environment.
“They have a lot of good coaches as well as well-developed and successful programs,” said Jones, who moved to Skowhegan from Cornville three years ago.
“We live right in town and my daughter will be a freshman at Skowhegan and my son will be in the middle school. They both play three sports. I know some of the parents of the athletes in town. This is going to be a good fit for me,” said Jones, who graduated from Stearns High School in Millinocket and the University of Maine at Farmington.