Sanford Athletic Director to retire this year

Gordon “Gordie” Salls retires after 28 years with Sanford High School

BY KEIRA KILKENNY, STAFF WRITER

Gordon “Gordie” Salls retires from Sanford High School after 28 years. Photo Credit: Keira Kilkenny

After 28 years of being the Athletic Director at Sanford High School, Gordon Salls is officially retiring at the end of the school year.

Salls moved to Springvale in 1993 and became the Director of Athletics and Activities at Sanford Jr. and Sr. High School, now commonly known as Sanford Middle School and Sanford High School.

“Mr. Salls has been an invaluable member of the Sanford Community for 28 years,” said Zachary Lemelin, Assistant Athletic Director. “He has had such a significant involvement in the success of Sanford Athletics and has done so many wonderful things behind the scenes that go unrecognized.”

Salls has helped grow Sanford sports at the middle and high school levels to approximately 50 teams within 20 programs. Notable additions include boys and girls lacrosse, volleyball, and the Unified Basketball team. He’s also advocated for having an indoor track team at the high school and lacrosse at the middle school levels.

Over the years, Salls has been honored with the National State Award of Merit in 2013, Athletic Director of the Year in 2015 and the Martin E. Ryan Award of Excellence in 2023, along with many other awards and honors. He has also served as the President of the Southern Maine Activities Association (SMAA) from 2000-2001 and again in 2015-2016, in addition to countless other committees for the MPA, SMAA, or MIAAA including Citizenship and Sportsmanship, Ethics and Culture, Sports Medicine (which allowed schools to play during COVID), and individual sport committees.

Lemelin adds, “He has built an incredible reputation for himself in our community as well as in our state as one of the most distinguished Athletic Directors because of his knowledge and dedication to Sanford.”

When asked what he will miss most about being an Athletic Director, Salls replied, “I will miss watching the student-athletes compete, the comradery with the coaches here and my colleagues across the state.”

He’s looking forward to spending more time with his family, as well as riding his Harley Davidson.

Salls also played sports when he was in high school. He played football, basketball and baseball, then he started coaching soon after he graduated.

Prior to arriving at Sanford, Salls was the Athletic Director for all sports information at his alma mater, the College of St. Joseph in Vermont (1990-1993), and was the Assistant Director of Athletics and men’s basketball coach in 1990.

Congratulations to Mr. Salls on a fantastic career at Sanford High School, you will be missed and remembered.

Quotes on Mr. Salls’ career:

The Sanford School Department is very appreciative to the contributions that Athletic Director Gordie Salls has made to our athletic program and the Sanford community for the last 28 years.  I first met Gordie over twenty years ago when I was a rookie Athletic Director in another school in our conference – the Southwestern Maine Activities Association (SMAA).  I appreciated his assistance and admired Gordie’s skill and devotion to our league (SMAA), the state (Maine Principals Association / Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association) but mostly his commitment and love for Sanford and its student-athletes.  In my time in Sanford, I have been impressed with Gordie’s integrity and focus on doing things the right way.  Sanford has a first class athletic department and much of that is a result of Gordie’s leadership.  Gordie’s impact and talents have been recognized with numerous awards at the state and national level.  We thank him for his service and wish him the absolute best in his upcoming retirement.

Mr. Matthew Nelson, Sanford Schools Superintendent


“Mr. Salls was one of the first people I met when I came to Sanford High back in 2003.  I’ve never met someone as dedicated to athletics as he is. He wants what’s best for our athletes, coaches, and community.  This hard worker will be difficult to replace and I sure am going to miss seeing him everyday. Ultimately, his retirement is well deserved and he will have much more time to spend with his family now!  Congratulations Gordie!”

Mr. Matthew Petermann, Principal of Sanford High School


In working with Mr. Salls over the past 18 years, one thing that I can say is that he cares a great deal about Sanford High School, the staff, the students, and all of the athletic programs. Additionally, family is very important to him and he has always treated members of the athletic department as a “family” team. He has certainly earned his retirement after 34 years as a coach and athletic director.  I wish him all the best in spending more relaxing, quality time with his own family during retirement.

Mrs. Becky Clevand, Administrative Assitant to Salls

I am very happy for Mr. Salls and his family that he finally gets to enjoy the fruits of his labor for the past three-plus decades of tireless effort as our Athletic Administrator.  It has been an absolute joy to work for him as our dedicated leader of our athletic program at SHS.  

Mr. Salls’ has taken tremendous pride in our school, its students, and staff, since the day he arrived many years ago. I will miss his presence here and will always cheerish our friendship and excellent working relationship we have shared for over 30 years.  Thank you Mr. Salls for making Sanford High School a better place!  Enjoy every moment of retirement, you have earned it!  

Mr. Michael Fallon, Varsity Football Coach, Attendance Coordinator and Teacher


Mr. Gordon Salls will go down not only as a great boss of mine but also a great colleague and friend. I have known Gordie for over 22 years. He has given me the opportunity to coach 3 sports here at Sanford High School. He has been supportive of me and my programs and for that I will forever be grateful. There comes a time in life when you cross paths with someone and you get to know them you realize that they are a good person. Well, Gordie is that dude! I will miss our talks about sports, family etc… My man will be missed but not forgotten.  

Mr. Rossie Kearson, Teacher and Coach

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