Bucksport High School Football coach Joel Sankey works with the team prior to a scrimage against Houlton High School in this 2014 file photo. Credit: Terry Farren / BDN

After decades at the helm of the Bucksport football team, Joel Sankey is stepping down from his post.

Sean Geagan, an assistant coach for Sankey since the ’90s, has been hired to take over as head coach.

Sankey became the head coach of Bucksport in 1994 and has held the job since, winning the Class C state championship in 2004 in a 42-20 win over Jay.

The Golden Bucks reached the Class C state game in 2001 and 2011, then the Class D state championship game in 2013 and 2019. Sankey holds the record for most wins as head coach of Bucksport football.

Age was a factor in the 75-year-old Sankey stepping down.

“It’s a great opportunity for me, obviously, and I’m looking forward to working with the kids of Bucksport and really developing them for lifelong challenges,” Geagan said. “The game of football is a great game and it’s about life experiences and putting them out in the real world and hopefully they survive due in part to what they’ve learned with Bucksport football.”

As an assistant, Geagan has tried to learn as much as he can from Sankey.

“Obviously it’s big big shoes to fill and I probably won’t fill them,” said Geagan, who has wanted to become a head football coach for as long as he can remember. “Working with him for 20 years, he’s a genius in football. I have tried to learn from him but he’s so smart it’s hard to keep up with him. His brain on offense is incredible.”

Sankey will miss working with his assistants every day of the week during football season, Sunday film sessions with his coaching staff and Thursday night dinners with the team.

“There’s nothing like a Friday night in Bucksport,” Sankey said. “The parents and fans were so supportive, and the Thursday night meals, I’ll miss all of it.”

Sankey started as an assistant coach in the 1970s.

He began as an assistant with Bucksport before following Bruce Morse to Maine Maritime Academy as an assistant, then to Bangor High School before coming back to Bucksport. One thing Sankey has learned is that your assistant coaches are important.

“One of the things I learned from being the assistant coach is that head coaches that give assistant coaches responsibilities, it all works much better,” Geagan said.

Geagan has the full support of Sankey and says Bucksport will do well under his coaching.

As for Sankey, he’s excited to golf more. He plans on playing every day at Bangor Municipal Golf Course, where he has a membership.

Adam Robinson is a native of Auburn, Maine, and graduate of Husson University and Edward Little High School. He enjoys sports, going on runs and video games.