Former Stearns High School football coach Art Greenlaw, surrounded by school officials and coaches, reacts to applause during Sunday's ceremony dedicating the school's football field in his name. Greenlaw coached the Minutemen to four state championships during his tenure from 1976-1990 and again from 1995-1997. Credit: Mike Dowd / BDN

MILLINOCKET, Maine — When Art Greenlaw came to Stearns High School to coach football in 1976, bringing his triple-option offense and emphasis on sportsmanship to the program, his teams struggled at first.

“We started out my first year 4-4-1. The second year we were 3-5-1, the third year 2-6-1. They stayed with us and hung with the program and it paid off,” Greenlaw said, addressing an estimated crowd of 350 former players, coaches and educators gathered at the Wentworth Gymnasium Sunday at a ceremony renaming the school’s football field in honor of the former coach.

Greenlaw would go on to coach the Minutemen to five LTC titles and four state championships including undefeated seasons in 1987 and 1995. His final season as head coach at Stearns was in 1997. He went on to coach at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln and as an assistant coach at Husson University in Bangor. He was inducted into the Maine Principals’ Association Hall of Excellence in 2021 and received the National Football Foundation Award for Contribution to Amateur Football in May.

“None of this happens in a vacuum,” Greenlaw said, standing near the bronze plaque bearing the name Arthur D. Greelaw Alumni Field. “It takes a team. And we had great teams here at all different levels, administrators, coaches and community support.”

Former Stearns players came from as far as California to attend the event for Greenlaw, now 75. The ceremony featured 11 former players and coaches speaking about the effect Greenlaw had on their lives, most mentioning the lessons he taught them about leadership. He was also named an honorary alumnus of the school.

Greenlaw graduated from Belfast High School in 1966 and went on to play football at Southern Connecticut State College, graduating in 1970. He began his career at Skowhegan High School where he taught, coached football and served as athletic director from 1972-76. Now retired, he resides in Millinocket with his wife, Winnie.

“I have so much respect for the people of this community who have weathered some hard times and keep coming back,’’ Greenlaw said.