Should basketball play out this winter in the midst of COVID-19, Searsport District High School will be in search of a new boys varsity coach as veteran court leader Dave Pepin has stepped down.

The 56-year-old Pepin, who lives in Newport, said “the last couple years its been 50/50 because of the travel.”

“It’s 100 miles round trip for me,” he said. “The other is with the pandemic who knows if there will even be a season? And the numbers just haven’t been there. This would be the first year we wouldn’t have a jayvee team. But It’s been a great run between basketball, baseball and the year I coached softball.”

In six years coaching the Viking boys basketball team, Pepin led the Vikings to a 55-57 record and to the school’s first tournament appearance in 29 years in 2015.

He also coached the Viking baseball team from 2004-2010 and led the Vikings to three straight Class C North regional championships and state crowns in 2006 and 2008. During that six-year run, advancing to the regional final in five of those seasons, the Vikings finished 90-39-1. He was also voted Penobscot Valley Conference coach of the year on two occasions.

He also led the Viking softball team to a regional championship appearance during a one-year stint as co-coach alongside R.J. Robertson in 2015.

Combined, among 16 seasons of coaching Searsport athletics, he amassed a postseason record of 19-10.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have great student-athletes and walked into good situations,” he said. “But we always had good years together. I’ve been blessed to be part of the community. Always felt that love and support even as an outsider looking in. And I just want to thank them for 16 of the greatest seasons of my life.”

He said he does not plan to retire from coaching, as he currently is coaching the middle school boys soccer program at Nokomis of Newport. But he hopes to perhaps find a varsity job closer to home down the road.

“I’m not calling it a retirement,” he said. “I’m calling it a year off. Hopefully things get back to normal by spring and maybe back to basketball somewhere next year.”