New Wiscasset AD already tackling job’s challenges

Mon, 08/29/2022 - 8:45am

A few weeks into his job as Wiscasset Middle High School’s athletic director, Cameron “Cam” Bishop is already hearing praise for his performance. “He is taking my place, and he is awesome,” said former athletic director Warren Cossette. 

Bishop, of Brunswick, just turned 32 and is a Bowdoin College graduate. He studied government and legal studies at the Brunswick school, but a passion for teaching and coaching had him doing both in his hometown of Waterville and now in Wiscasset. 

“Warren spoke to me last year about taking over for him,” Bishop said. “Sports has always been a passion of mine and I wanted to pursue the administrative side of education. So here I am.”

In his first season as an AD, Bishop’s first challenge is soccer. At Waterville High School, he played football, baseball, ice hockey and ran track. At Bowdoin, he was a wide receiver on the Polar Bears’ football team. “I never played soccer, and admit I don’t know much about the sport,” he said.

But Bishop does know about Wiscasset’s past success in sports. His father Brad has coached high school football many years, including several at Morse High School in Bath. And Cam’s grandfather Arthur was a longtime coach and teacher at Brunswick High SchoolGrowing up around high school sports in the 1990s, Bishop knew of Wiscasset’s then-prowess in basketball and soccer. “I think a lot of people still have that image in their mind of how competitive Wiscasset was. Obviously with (Maine Yankee’s) closure, enrollment dropped, as in a lot of communities where there was a paper mill or some other large employer. As times change, communities have to adapt, and there’s no reason why Wiscasset can’t be competitive across the board in all their sports just like they used to be.”

This fall, the boys’ soccer program attracted five to six players during summer workouts Varsity high school needs at least seven in a game played with 11 at full-strength. Bishop is hoping to salvage the boys’ season as a club sport playing seven-versus-seven games by recruiting a couple more players once school starts.  

The girls’ program is in better shape with 11 players including two from Boothbay. “We had no Boothbay boys and are thankful for the two girls. My goal is continued conversations with Alan (Crocker, Boothbay Region High School athletic director),” he said. “It may take going down to Boothbay talking about soccer opportunities, but I will do it.”

The half-time AD, half-time history teacher is excited to immerse himself in the Wiscasset community, and “pick up the challenge of trying to rebuild a once proud sports program here. I know it's going to take a lot of work but I’m willing to put the time and effort into it.” That will include learning more about Wiscasset Community Center’s relationship with the schools, as well as visiting the school department’s primary grades and turning out for youth sporting events when he can. Bishop wants to make sure students are excited for, and stay committed to, sports throughout their school careers.

Feeder programs are vital to any community’s high school athletics, he said. 

Sports can be part of “reinvigorating” schools’ culture and spirit the pandemic really put a damper on, he said. “It’s going to take a little time obviously, but I really want to emphasize that sense of community and pride I think Wiscasset still has.”

In recent years, Wiscasset athletics has lagged behind other Mountain Valley Conference members in achieving success in games. In 2014, Wiscasset won the regional baseball championship and lost in the quarterfinal round in the 2015 boys’ basketball tournament. “Wiscasset has a great history. It’s my job to create excitement where more athletes want to participate,” he said. “I want to change the culture back to where it was in the 1990s. It’s a challenge, but that’s what I’m here for.”

At Bowdoin, he never was committed to a single career goal. He considered law school, pursuing working in politics, lobbying or possibly working for the State Department. Eventually, his passion for football won and he became a coach.  

Bishop has over eight years of football coaching experience including one season as a Husson University assistant. After that experience, he decided on a career as an educator and coach. “I have a family full of educators and coaches. My father and grandfather were longtime educators and coaches. My mother is a teacher, and my brother teaches and coaches football. So I think, maybe, I was destined to coach,” Bishop said. 

Bishop was living in Harpswell when he and wife Ashlee had their first child in 2019. Bishop was seeking a teaching job in 2020 when he saw a high school history opening. “Just prior to the pandemic Wiscasset had an open position. We live in Harpswell which is convenient to both my job and hers. I applied, and was fortunate enough to get it,” he said.

Bishop teaches morning AP U.S. History and two civics classes. “Our class sizes are small enough where you get to know the kids. There are a lot of current events discussions and the kids keep me energized,” he said.

Bishop also oversees middle school athletics. Both the boys’ and girls’ programs have enough players to complete in the fall Bus Line League soccer season. He reports the boys’ team has 15 players and the girls’ team, 27. “This is a great start with numbers like this. I’m really excited about the future,” he said. “I want to talk to middle school students about athletics in keeping them engaged throughout high school.”

He is working on a master’s degree in educational leadership at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

Bishop is not the only family member continuing the family tradition of coaching. Brother Kyle is head baseball coach at Hall-Dale in Gardiner and an assistant football coach at Cony in Augusta.

Cam and Ashley Bishop are the parents of Claire, 3, and Caroline, 10 weeks.