Merrimack AD Sabean resigns after five years

The school athletic year has barely begun, but already there’s been a major surprise as Merrimack High School athletic director Eric Sabean has decided to step down.

Sabean, 47, made his decision known to Merrimack principal Ken Johnson in the last week, stunning Johnson and the Tomahawk athletic community.

“It’s been five years, and a phenomenal opportunity at Merrimack,” Sabean told The Telegraph early Tuesday evening. ” But it’s time for me to do something else.”

What that “something else” might be even Sabean doesn’t know yet. But he took some time over the summer, looked at the year ahead, and decided after 20-plus years in education and athletics he might want to try a new career path.

“I’m just going to get detached from everything and see if my passion lies somewhere else,” he said.

“I know that Merrimack is working diligently to find a replacement.”

Indeed school officials are, according to Johnson, who said he’s had several email inquiries about the suddenly vacant position. Merrimack is a very sports oriented community and the job is sure to draw interest. Sabean told Johnson he would stay on until a sucessor is found and is set in the job. He told his coaches at Merrimack that it’s “business as usual.”

“We’ll successfully transition to a new athletic director in the month of September,” Johnson said.

And it’s not a process he expected to have to undergo. Johnson said he asked Sabean if he wanted more time to think about it but was told no.

“It certainly came as a surprise,” Johnson said. “It’s unusual for someone to do this when he doesn’t have something else to go to.

“I can say this – his job certainly wasn’t in any jeopardy.”

Sabean was hired as the Tomahawks’ athletic director in the summer of 2012 after a two-year stint as the AD at Maine Maritime Academy.

Before that, he had spent 12 years as an assistant AD at Saint Anselm College, and prior to those positons he taught and coached at Newport and Manchester West High Schools.

Merrimack’s first day of school is next Tuesday and Sabean said it will be a tough day.

“I’ll be saying good-bye to some great student athletes and coaches,” he said. “The past five years has been phenominal with great student athletes and people.”