PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – The Maine Basketball Hall of Fame released the inaugural list of inductees in a press conference Wednesday.
Tony Hamlin, member of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors, announced the list of 16 players, 5 coaches, 1 official and 1 contributor. In addition, Hamlin said the Hall of Fame will recognize the 70th anniversary of the 1944 Waterville boys' team that went undefeated and finished a magical season by capturing the New England basketball title. Hamlin also introduced a list of Legends of the Game that includes people who were instrumental in the early development of Maine basketball.
Hamlin said the mission of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame is to preserve the history of basketball in the State of Maine, identify and recognize the accomplishments and contributions of individuals and teams and promote the heritage of basketball in the State of Maine.
Hamlin added that the first couple of classes inducted would be done so by committee. Hamlin said eventually there will be a nominating process to induct members to the Hall of Fame.
Hamlin said there is a short requirement list for inductees that includes players becoming eligible for induction twenty years after their playing days are over. Coaches with twenty years of experience are eligible immediately; those whose careers were less than twenty years must wait ten years after their last coaching assignment for eligibility.
The inaugural list of inductees include;
Lisa Blais Manning – Long before there was a Cindy Blodgett, a tenacious girl from Westbrook caught the imagination of basketball enthusiasts in Maine. Her name was Lisa Blais. Lisa was a Maine All-state player at Westbrook High School all four years and led her high school to four consecutive Gold Balls. Lisa was a Gatorade Player of the Year. Following high school Lisa took her skills to Old Dominion University where she was a four -year starter and led her school to National Championship. Many believe her to be the best player ever to come out of our state.
Rachel Bouchard – Two- time Maine All-state selection at Hall Dale High School as well as the Gatorade Player of the Year and a Converse All-American in 1987. Rachel was a one the University of Maine's greatest player. She was the North Atlantic Conference Player of the Year two consecutive years. While at UMO, Rachel was selected as a Kodak All-American in 1989-'90-'91. She was consecutive North Atlantic Conference Player of the Year in 1990 and 1991. Rachel later played professionally in France. She belongs to the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, the Univ. of Maine Hall of Fame, and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. Her # 43 jersey was retired from the Univ. of Maine in 1993.
Brett Brown – A Maine All-state player two years, Brett led South Portland High School to two Western Maine Championships and the State Championship in 1979. Brett, a Vinal Trophy winner and a Converse All-American, accepted a full scholarship to Boston University where he played for coach Rick Pitino. He was the captain of the Boston Univ. basketball team and it's MVP his sophomore season. Brett served as the Asst. Coach to the San Antonio Spurs and helped them win three World Championships. He also served as the Australian Olympic Coach in 2012 and is currently the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers
Skip Chappelle – An All- state selection at Old Town High School, Skip led them to a state championship and then moved on to MCI for a post -graduate season. He set scoring records at the University of Maine and led the Yankee Conference in scoring three consecutive years. Drafted by the Boston Celtics, Skip returned to Maine and became the head coach of the University of Maine.
Danny Coombs – Danny was an All-State selection at Brewer High School in 1960 when he led Brewer to the State Championship game where he scored 35 points. He also set the Class A record for tournament points with 104 in 1960. Danny went to Seton Hall University on a basketball scholarship and played two seasons until he signed a professional baseball contract. He pitched for several years in the major leagues.
Don Crosby –Don was All-state, All-New England, and a Scholastic Magazine All- American at Cony High School in 1966. He led Cony to the State Championship in 1966 before accepting a scholarship at Boston College. He was a member of the 1969 N.I.T. runner – up team and became an assistant coach at Boston College in
1972. He served as an assistant coach at Acadia University under ex-Cony coach Dick Hunt and helped Acadia win the 1979 Canadian National Championship.
Matt Donahue – Matt was a prolific scorer at Westbrook High School amassing a career total of 1513 points in the pre- three- point era. Matt was a first team All-state player his junior and senior seasons. He set the Westbrook single game scoring record with 57 points his senior season. His team lost the state Championship to Caribou on Mike Thurston's last second shot. Matt continued his career at USM where he averaged over 25 ppg. and set several scoring records.
Brad Moore – Brad Moore is still the career- scoring leader for Hall Dale High School where his number is retired. Brad was a first team All- state member his senior year. He left Hall Dale and played at Colby College where he still remains the career rebounding leader as well as the school's third leading scorer. Brad was an All-Maine College first team selection, All- ECAC Division 3 selection and a third team All-American. Colby College honored him by retiring his uniform. Brad also belongs to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
JoAnne Palombo- McCallie – Joanne Palombo was a basketball phenom at Brunswick High School where she earned All- State honors two years in a row. Following her brilliant high school career Joanne accepted a scholarship to Northwestern University. She coached the University of Maine women's team to the pinnacle of New England basketball. She is the women's coach at Duke University and has built a program that annually competes for the national championship.
Steve Pound – The 5' 9" sharpshooter from Stearns High School set scoring records that still stand fifty years later. Steve was a first team All- state selection his senior season and regularly scored over fifty points per game his senior season. He still holds Stearns season average scoring leader even though he played at a time before the three- point shot. After high school Steve attended Acadia University where he ended his career as the all time scoring leader. He also led this university to the Canadian National Championship. After college Steve played a season overseas in England where he averaged over 38 ppg. The name of Steve Pound is synonymous with excellence in Maine basketball.
Doug Roberts – Doug Roberts is one of the most versatile basketball players in our state's history. At 6'5" he could bang inside but also possessed the quickness and ball skills to play on the perimeter. At Rumford High School Doug led his team to the 1974 and 1976 State Championships and the 1976 New England Championships. He was first team All – state his junior and senior seasons and won the Vinal Trophy in 1976. He scored over 1400 points in high school. Following graduation, Doug attended Acadia University and was on the 1977 team that won the Canadian National Championship. He transferred to Clark University where he achieved All- New England honors and scored over 1000 points.
Jack Scott – To many, Jack Scott is the best schoolboy player ever to come out of Maine. He was tenacious to the point of scaring his opponents and he could play at any position on the court. Jack led the Ellsworth High School teams in the mid 1950's to a State Championship and to the New England Tournament. After high school Jack received a scholarship to attend the Univ. of Conn. He returned to Maine and finished his stellar playing career at Husson College. After college, Jack remained active with basketball in the semi-pro league with his own team called Jack's Five; they toured in gyms all over Maine and New England.
Joe Harrington –Joe Harrington was the golden boy of Maine basketball. His play at Morse High School is without parallel. He led Morse High School to the State Championship in 1963 and lost to Stearns in the New England Championship by a single point. He was a two- year All- State player. After high school Joe attended the University of Maryland on scholarship where he was a four year starter. The Boston Celtics drafted Joe in 1967. Joe started an illustrious coaching career at the Univ. of Maryland under legendary coach Lefty Driesell. He was the head coach at Hofstra University, George Mason University, Long Beach State, and the University of Colorado.
Matt Hancock – Matt Hancock left a lasting legacy on Maine basketball. The Lake Region High School star was and All-state selection and a McDonald's All-star. His high school team won the Gold Ball in 1985 and once he moved onto college, his game went to a new level. Matt was a Division 3 All-American three years in a row. In 1990 he was named the Division 3 Player of the Year. Matt was the national scoring champion in 1988 averaging 33ppg. He left Colby as Maine's all-time collegiate scoring leader.
Jon MacDonald –Jon MacDonald was a first team All-state selection three years in a row. In 1963 he also garnered All- New England status as his Stearns High School team defeated Morse High School for the New England Championship. After high school Jon attended the University of Maryland where he captained the team in 1969. This former Parade All-American played all four years at Maryland and his roommate was Gary Williams who would lead Maryland to a National Championship. Jon is remembered as a great shooter who always performed under pressure. He played during the Golden Age of Maine Basketball and along with Joe Harrington, gave basketball fans a glimpse of big time talent.
John Mitchell – John "Swisher" Mitchell was one of the best point guards ever to play in Maine. His Waterville High School teams on the mid 40's compiled a record of 70-2 and won both the Maine and New England Championships in 1944. John was a forerunner of the Bob Cousy style of play. Exceptionally quick and hard to contain, John drove opposing teams crazy with his vision, ball handling skills, and ability to score. After high school John attended Providence College where he was an All-Yankee Conference selection two years and an All New England and All Boston Garden selection his senior year. Swisher returned to Waterville and served as Dick Whitmore's assistant coach for nearly forty years.
Ordie Alley – Jonesport- Beals High School.
Ordie Alley won over 600 games including 13 Eastern Maine Championships and 9 State Championships, 5 in a row. Ordie's teams made the play offs 37 of his 39 years of coaching. He is a member of the Machias Hall of Fame and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Bob Brown – Rockland, Williams High, South Portland, Edward Little, Bonny Eagle, Cheverus, USM, Boston Univ., St. Anselms College.
Bob Brown coached for fifty years ( 42 as a head coach ) and won over 600 games. His high school teams won four Gold Balls and seven Regional Championships. His college teams made it to the NCAA tournament 4 times and the 88-89 USM team reached the Final Four, coming in third. He coached at the high school level, and was a head coach at the Div. 3, Div. 2, and Div. 1 levels in college. Bob belongs to 5 Hall of Fame including the New England Basketball Hall of Fame; he is an icon to the Maine basketball community.
George Wentworth – Stearns High School
George Wentworth is a legend in Maine basketball. This Notre Dame graduate turned Stearns High School into a perennial champion and helped put Maine Basketball on the map with the 1963 New England Championship. George Wentworth created a comprehensive basketball program many years before it became common practice. As a result, Stearns dominated Maine basketball for over twenty years, until his retirement in the early 70s.
Richard Whitmore – Hall Dale High School, Morse High School, Colby College
With over 635 wins, Dick Whitmore is the most successful college coach in Maine history. His Colby teams won 31 CBB Championships, 3 ECAC Championships, and made 3 NCAA appearances. He directed Pine Tree Basketball Clinic for 38 summers and impacted over 50,000 young players. He is a Maine legend whose influence is profoundly felt by the many ex –players who coach basketball. Coach Whitmore is in demand as a clinician and resource for basketball people beyond the borders of Maine. He is the executive Director of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Paul Vachon – Messalonskee, Cony High School
This Augusta native coached his Cony teams to 11 Eastern Maine Championships and 7 State titles. He won 451 games and made the post season 23 consecutive seasons. Paul's winning percentage of 91% is one of the highest in the nation. He is a sought after clinician and is the Director of the Capital City Basketball Clinic.
Bob Butler – York High School
Bob Butler along with his wife Gertrude, have been intimately involved with Maine basketball for over sixty years. As the unofficial historian of the game, Bob kept statistics for the MPA for 41 years and was the point person for compiling the Heal Points before they recently became computerized. Bob served as an liaison for coaches and Athletic Directors with the MPA and, became the "official" source basketball people turned to with historical questions regarding Maine basketball. Bob still updates the MPA tournament programs with individual and team records.
Jim DiFrederico – Millinocket, Maine
Jim Difrederico began officiating in the 1950s and became known as the consummate official. Player, coaches and fans in the state knew his knowledge of the game, along with his poise and presence put him in complete control of any situation. "Difred", as his friends knew him, was the Gold Standard for basketball officials. He passed away from in 1985 at the age of 57. His son, Jim, will accept the honor on his dad's behalf.
1944 Waterville High School Team
Seventy years ago this year, Waterville High School finished a dream season at 27-0 and won the Maine and New England Championships. They were led by, among others, John and Paul Mitchell, Len Saulter, Ted Shiro, and John and Norman Jabar. The MBHOF will recognize and induct this legendary team into the Hall of Fame at the August induction ceremony.
LEGENDS OF THE GAME
Wally Donovan – Waterville High School coach for 38 years. They won 67 consecutive games and won the New England Championship in 1944 and the Maine State Championships in 1945 and 1949. Waterville High School named its gymnasium after Mr. Donavan, a truly iconic figure in Maine basketball.
Durwood Heal – Durwood Heal designed the Heal Point System in 1947 and it was first implemented in Maine in the 1949-50 season to fairly project placement of teams that too often played weaker schedules to qualify for post season play. Mr. Heal was Bangor High School's first Athletic Director and he was principal at Schenck High School when he introduced his unique system.
Charlie Wotten – First Commissioner of Basketball. Mr. Wooten served as Commissioner for twenty years and was a man of great stature and respect. He was known as Mr. Basketball and he officiated over 2200 games at the high school, college, and pro levels.
Tony Tammaro – Tony enjoyed a 50 + year officiating career. Well known in Eastern Maine where he officiated in 38 consecutive Eastern Maine tournaments. He officiated in over 4500 games and still officiated in the Washington County area into his 80s. Tony was also a legendary boxer in the Woodland/ Calais area. He passed away in 2002.
Bill Mansfield – Coach of Winslow in 1930's. School gym named after him. In an eight- season span leading up to 1938, his teams went 200-14.
William Hanscom – Coach at Presque Isle from 1931 – 1956 and compiled a 369-188 record. They won Presque Isle's only boys' championship in 1932. He graduated from UMO in 1927, having played on the men's basketball team four years.
Stella McClean – University of Farmington coach; one of pioneers of Maine women basketball. Stella was instrumental in bringing women's intercollegiate sports to Maine. She also was one of the moving forces behind the MPA establishing the State Championship for women's basketball. She was a graduate of New Gloucester High School in 1950; a prolific scorer on the hardwood, she was a 2000- point scorer in high school.
Anita Belanger – This 5'7" forward from Mattawamkeag High School scored an amazing 2209 points for a 55.6 points per game during her career. She graduated in 1955.
Clara Swan – Husson College icon; Clara was a pioneer of basketball, she coached Husson basketball for 19 seasons, compiling at 241-34 record. She taught and coached at Husson for 34 years starting in 1939.
The Maine Basketball Hall of Fame is housed on the second floor of the new Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. There is an ongoing effort to turn the MBHOF Concourse into a showcase of the history of Maine basketball.
Basketball fans can order banquet tickets by visiting the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame website www.MaineBasketballHallofFame.com. The cost is $ 40 per ticket; the Induction ceremony is open to the public. People interested in supporting the Hall of Fame can become a "Friend of the Hall" for $ 25. "Friends of the Hall" will receive a MBHOF decal for display in their car windows.