MDI head football coach Mark Arnold speaks to his team during a 2019 game against Old Town at Old Town High School. MDI Athletic Director Bunky Dow announced Tuesday that Arnold will be stepping down from his position as head coach. He had held the position since Mark Shields’ retirement following the 2017 season. ISLANDER PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELL

Arnold resigns as head football coach

BAR HARBOR — After leading the Mount Desert Island football program into a new era, Mark Arnold will be handing over the reins. 

Arnold is stepping down as MDI head football coach, Athletic Director Bunky Dow announced Tuesday night. He had coached the Trojans for three seasons and helped the program navigate the pandemic era as well as its transition to eight-man football. 

Arnold took over as MDI head coach following Mark Shields’ resignation in January 2018. He coached the Trojans’ final two seasons at the Class C level before the program was one of many in the state to switch to the eight-man format in spring 2020. 

The pandemic, of course, resulted in the cancellation of Maine’s 2020 high school football season, leaving 2021 as the new start date for the Trojans’ inaugural year of eight-man play. MDI went 3-5 with a playoff appearance in eight-man’s Large-School North classification, a mark that included two wins over rival Ellsworth/Sumner late in the year. 

“I appreciate everything Coach Arnold has done for the high school and Island community along with the MDI High School football program,” Dow said in a statement. “With the recent decrease of players playing at the lower level (AYS) and COVID issues, he led a team that improved weekly and was playing their best football toward the end of this season.” 

Prior to being named head coach at MDI, Arnold, who played college football at the University of Michigan, spent five seasons as a defensive coordinator under Shields. He is currently an ed tech teacher at the high school, where he also leads the esports program. 

“A search for [Mark’s] replacement will begin very soon,” Dow said. 

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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