A Tremont native and a Husson College graduate, Bunky Dow returned to MDI High School, his alma mater, as the jayvee baseball coach and a substitute teacher in 1984. Named athletic director 28 years ago, he is also the student activities director at the school. PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ

There’s more to the game than sports, says Bunky Dow

Traveling to Mount Desert Island High School daily from his Tremont home, Bunky Dow played football, basketball and baseball for the Trojans. Graduating in 1978, he took his passion for baseball to Husson College, starting as catcher for the Eagles during his freshman year and shifting to first base his junior and senior years at the Bangor college.

Dow extended his Husson education a year to take additional classes. Hired as assistant baseball coach to Head Coach Merrill Wilson, Dow ran the fall practices and winter workouts. Graduating with a bachelor’s in business administration and an associate’s in insurance, Dow also earned his teaching certificate after taking the requisite classes.

Bunky met his future wife, Tammy, at Husson; she is from Lewiston. They married on June 3, 1983 and “moved back down here,” he recalled. “I didn’t know what I wanted do when I got out of college.”

Employed briefly at The Jackson Lab, Dow began his career-long affiliation with MDIHS in 1984. Hired to coach Trojan junior varsity baseball, Dow started substitute teaching in business education. He then took an ed-tech position. “I was a study-hall monitor,” he said. “I’ve been here ever since, 34 years.”

“I started coaching a lot of sports,” Dow said. Still a substitute teacher, he served three years as the assistant to Athletic Director Rob Liebow, then became the AD when Liebow left 28 years ago.

Dow taught business-ed classes while “I was still coaching varsity baseball,” three years at junior varsity and 14 years at the varsity level. “I love baseball,” he said.

Today MDIHS fields 21 varsity sports teams, and Dow oversees 45 coaches at “all levels,” from freshman to varsity. The school’s student activities director, he works with “about a dozen advisers” for activities as diverse as band, drama and yearbook. (Dow was the yearbook advisor for years.) He also coordinates programming with the five middle-school athletic directors on Mount Desert Island; from such schools come the young athletes who help MDIHS field competitive athletic teams season after season.

Dow sees a coach’s responsibilities as player- and game-focused. “I want our coaches to coach,” he explained. “That’s all: just coach. I don’t want them worrying about anything else,” so he handles the game-related details, “the fine points,” such as having outdoor fields lined prior to home games.

Dow believes that athletics is far more than putting points on a scoreboard. “There are more important things than wins and losses,” he said. “It’s what you get out of the program.

“My proudest moment is when I see a former player, a former student” become successful in a career or a job or raising a family, Dow said, citing several former MDI athletes now excelling in their careers.

Three decades since he first came to the high school, Dow remembers so many former students by name. “I feel very privileged to work here,” he said. “I feel appreciated and enjoy working here.

“I like the fact that it’s a real caring community” at MDIHS, with a goal among administrators and teachers “to give the kids the best possible experience we can give them,” Dow said.

Trenton residents, Bunky and Tammy are the parents of two children. Their son, Jonathan, passed away some years ago. Their daughter, Chelsea, works at MDIHS. The Dows also have a 2½-year-old grandson, Grayson.

“My wife and I travel,” visiting places like Arizona, Florida and Mexico,” Bunky said. “I like the tropical. I like to go camping” as well as biking and hiking in Acadia National Park.

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