ROCKPORT — For the past seven years, the Camden Hills Regional High School athletic department has been captained by Steve Alex.
At the end of this month, Alex will be leaving his post as the school’s athletic director to accept a civilian position with the U.S. Air Force as an air refueling mission planning specialist in Hawaii.
Prior to being named the school’s athletic director, the Camden native spent one season as the Camden Hills girls varsity lacrosse head coach and three seasons as the school’s junior varsity girls soccer head coach.
This winter, Alex was the inaugural head coach of the school’s unified basketball team that played an exhibition schedule.
Alex graduated from Camden-Rockport High School in 1982 after playing soccer and basketball. Following his high school graduation, he joined the Maine Air National Guard 101st Air Refueling Wing in Bangor, also known as the “MAINEiacs.”
“My lifelong passion has always been military aviation and I am very excited to have the opportunity to serve in the Air Force once again,” he wrote in his resignation notice.
During his tenure as athletic director, the Windjammers have experienced success at great lengths including 17 state championships in seven sports, 13 regional championships in five sports and made 153 playoff appearances.
Through his seven years, the varsity athletic teams at the Rockport-based school produced a combined win-loss-tie record of 769-616-26.
Alex’s success as an athletic director goes much deeper than how teams, players and coaches under his guidance performed.
The Camden-Rockport High School Class of 1982 graduate carried his passion for the school — and community — into several significant projects that improved conditions and boosted morale.
His most notable projects included the school’s community bleacher project, the recent addition of unified basketball, the creation of the Crockett Trail and securing ample funding for the school’s lacrosse and ice hockey programs.
The community bleacher project established a new set of bleachers and a press box at Don Palmer Field, the school’s venue for its football, soccer, track and field, and lacrosse teams.
After installing new seating at Don Palmer Field, the seating that previously existed at that location was relocated to enhance the seating areas for those watching events involving the school’s baseball, softball, field hockey and sub-varsity soccer teams.
Crockett Trail was created to serve as home-base for the school’s cross country and mountain biking programs, in addition to being used by students and general public.
Despite turning in his resignation in April, Alex has continued to present new project ideas to the superintendent and school board to ensure the continued success of the athletic department.
At the June 5 school board meeting, Alex explained to the school board the school’s weight room is need of upgrades and the future of the school’s athletic facilities needs to be reevaluated.
In an email, Alex noted the weight room needs a flooring overall and paint job, in addition to equipment upgrades.
As for the future of the athletic facilities, Alex wanted to ensure the school board is aware that the athletic department struggles with limited facility access, which becomes more problematic when combined with poor weather conditions, thus making it difficult to get games in and even more difficult to get an even-balance of home and road games for teams.
This alone, and his proposals on how the school board could solve the problems, exemplify the dedication Alex has to not only his role as athletic director, but also his passion and love for the community.
For this reporter, Alex was always beyond helpful whenever I needed to speak with him for a story. He was quick to respond to all my emails and provided me with the needed information, even on weekends. He ensured reporters were up-to-date on game schedules when weather altered original plans, sending out emails at all hours of the day with the latest update.
Over the years, Alex has graciously provided hundreds, if not thousands, of photos from athletic events for us to run on our website and in photo galleries.
Since Alex announced his resignation in early April, Penobscot Bay Pilot reached out to numerous people with strong ties to Alex in order to see what thoughts and memories they wanted to share about Alex in his time leading the Windjammers’ athletic department.
Maria Libby, Five Town Consolidated School District Superintendent and Alex’s classmate: I have a lot of fond memories working with Steve, whether it was the pride he shared when bringing a state championship sports team to be recognized at the board, working with him to figure out how to keep our football program alive, or collaborating on a difficult issue he was facing. He brought positive energy, integrity, and a can-do attitude to the AD position and he will be missed. I graduated from Camden Rockport High School with Steve in 1982, and it was a pleasure to work with my former high school classmate!
John Magri, Camden Hills varsity ice hockey head coach: This year was my first season as a coach for Camden Hills Regional High School so I went through the entire interview, hiring, certification, acclamation, execution, and conclusion of coaching a high school hockey team with Steve being an integral and supportive part of every one of those steps. Steve made this such a positive experience through his support of me and his genuine support and excitement about the team and the successes that we had. I was truly touched when the Varsity Hockey Team earned a Semi-Final Playoff appearance at Colby College in Waterville and Steve called me up right away and told me he had arranged a fan bus to transport student fans to the game. He truly understood how important the fans were to this team and simply made it happen without being asked. I only had the opportunity to work under Steve for one season but his passion for the athletic programs at Camden Hills Regional High School will certainly be missed.
Kim Kuhn, Camden Hills varsity girls basketball head coach: He is a kind, hard working Athletic Director. He is so supportive of his coaches but more importantly he made it very clear that the kids at CHRHS come first. He will be sorely missed but his legacy of his philosophy will carry on.
Patrick Kelly, Camden Hills wrestling head coach: Steve is a very dedicated individual, he poured his heart and soul into this job all for the well-being and betterment of our athletic community. No matter what the situation, Steve always had time to say Hi and give a smile of friendship. Steve made the wrestling coaching staff feel valued, important and respected and as a result we worked hard for him in return. Steve let the coaches coach and the athletes play, what a great quality in an AD. Steve’s office door was always open to everyone, he made it a trademark of his tenure to be accessible and present for everyone. I will miss our conversation about kids and athletics. He understood kids and his management style made me feel like I was a part of a big team of coaches and that we ALL had much to offer. Steve had great attention to detail and insight, I respect that a great deal as a coach and person as well. Steve Alex will be dearly missed! He gave all he had for 7 years and our athletic programs are strong and well respected because of his leadership and compassion for kids and athletics. Personally speaking, as a wrestling coach, I will miss seeing Steve out and about in our awesome school here at Chills. I want to thank him for his support and guidance over the past 7 years, I am a better Wrestling Coach because of Steve Alex. Good Luck my friend.
Rowena Motylewski, Camden Hills varsity softball coach: Steve is the model of organization, the pinnacle of rational thought and the epitome of "fair play". His desire to provide the optimum environment for each student athlete is unparalleled in my 17 years of teaching and coaching. He always looks out for the best interest of the student athlete and maintains the calmest and coolest head, even when a mid-game thunderstorm leads to him ShopVac-ing the infield so that we could finish our Senior Game. He has truly done more than should be expected of him and he has always done it with a smile. There's no such thing as a "set back" for Steve; problem solving is his strength so every potential "set back" always winds up being a "set up" for a better outcome. Be organized, be rational, be fair, be consistent, be helpful, be calm, be a problem solver; these are the "life-lessons" I have learned from Steve Alex. His unwavering support will be severely missed.
MaryAnn Mercier, parent and friend: Steve has done a fabulous job over the years as the AD at Camden Hills. He worked and fought so hard for each sport. He was able to finally get lacrosse fully funded and also hockey, which were such big accomplishments. He always worked and supported each and every student and helped them reach their goals and aspirations. I had the privilege of working with him on the bleacher project, which we successfully completed within a year. I think we raised over 200k. I am known to him by his family as his bleacher wife, because we worked really hard on this project and I would call him frequently about donations, especially at night or on the weekends! I wish him well on his move and new career and thank him for all he has done for our children and community.
Jeff Hart, Camden Hills varsity boys basketball head coach and Alex’s replacement: Steve Alex has put his heart and soul into the job of Athletic Director at Camden Hills Regional High School. It has been an honor and a privilege to work for him for the past few years. I'm happy for Steve that he is moving on to his next adventure in life and that he is following his passion. He will be missed here, there is no doubt about that.
Penny and Charlie Crockett, friends, former teachers, supporters: We have had the pleasure of knowing Steve Alex, first as a student in our classes at Camden-Rockport High School some years ago, and more recently as a highly respected Athletic Director at Camden Hills High School. We worked closely with Steve on the Camden Hills Bleacher Project and were impressed with his determination to get that project done for the students and for the community. Under Steve’s direction, Camden Hills Homecoming during his tenure has been a huge success, combining recognition of all fall teams, and of key supporters from the community. Throughout the year, Steve was sure to support and attend all the various teams’ events. Steve has been an excellent Athletic Director, and a fine role model for the youth of this community. We will miss him greatly, but we wish him well in this next chapter of his life in Hawaii, and we will be forever grateful for his friendship.
Karl Enroth, former Camden Hills varsity ice hockey, mountain biking, junior varsity softball and varsity girls tennis coach: First and foremost I would like to thank Steve for his leadership, commitment and support of Camden Hills Athletics throughout his tenure as Athletic Director. I first met Steve when he came aboard as the Windjammer Athletic Director when I was coaching CH Varsity Ice Hockey. Steve was new to the athletic director position and ice hockey was still a relatively new and underfunded sports program at Camden Hills. Steve quickly wanted to learn about our competitive hockey program and what the team and booster parent group were doing to make it all work year after year. I appreciate Steve always taking time to acknowledge the hard work of the players and hockey parents as the hockey program matured. Steve is sneaky persistent. Steve did not take “I’m pretty busy” or “I don’t know if I have the time” or even “I don’t think so” as no for an answer. His persistence and general optimism led me to coaching other Camden Hills sports teams. Steve would innocently ask my interest and then the next thing I was dusting off my glove, my tennis racket, and even my old mountain bike. It was not always easy but we had some fun and enjoyed some laughs over the years. Directing a high school athletic program is a complex job and a lot tougher than most people can imagine. Steve cared about the Camden Hills student athletes and supported his coaches. Steve did his job with class. "Ka la hiki ola”
Jeremy Marks, Camden Hills head football coach: Mr. Alex has always been a staunch supporter of the Football Program at CHRHS. It was one of my greatest pleasures to be able to grow and have success under Steve's leadership given all that he went through with this program during its time here at CHRHS. There are many people behind the scenes of a winning football program and Steve Alex has always been one the most important. Steve will be missed for many reasons: his professionalism, his dedication to the school he served so diligently, his unyielding support for our students, and for always being a man of his word. Aloha Mr. Alex you will always have a home on any sideline I coach!
Reach George Harvey at: firstname.lastname@example.org.