A doctor, a bodybuilder, four championship coaches and a former University of Maine quarterback are among nine who will be inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame on May 5 at the 38th annual awards banquet at the Augusta Civic Center.
Five high school athletes will receive $5,000 scholarships, and an outstanding achievement award will be presented.
• Dr. Douglas W. Brown, Portland: A specialist in sports medicine, Brown has served as medical consultant to U.S. national soccer teams. He was head team physician for the U.S. women’s national team from 1994 to 2000. A Waterville native, Brown is a 1968 graduate of Bowdoin, where he was captain of the hockey team.
• Ricky Craven, Newburgh: Craven began racing at the age of 15 at Unity Raceway. He was named Busch North rookie of the year in 1990 and was NASCAR Winston Cup rookie of the year in 1995. He participated in 278 races over 11 years in NASCAR’s top series, posting two victories.
• Paula Doughty, Farmington: Doughty has been the field hockey coach at Skowhegan High for 31 years and has an overall record of 438-80-17 with 11 Class A titles in 12 years. She was named national high school coach of the year in 2004 and 2008.
• Gary Fifield, Buxton: The women’s basketball coach at the University of Southern Maine, Fifield holds the NCAA Division III record with 30 consecutive years of 20 or more wins. At the end of last season, he had the highest winning percentage (.84.2) among Division III women’s coaches with five or more seasons.
• John “Skip” Robinson, Windham: An international powerlifting and bodybuilding champion, Robinson won the 1986 Mr. World AAU Bodybuilding Championship. He has won several other titles, including Mr. Maine.
• Bobby Russo, Portland: Russo has owned the Portland Boxing Club since the early 1990s. He has been selected 14 times as coach for Team New England and twice served as coach of Regional Team No. 1, comprising New England, New Jersey and New York. In 2008, Russo was Coach of the Year for USA Boxing/New England.
• Paul Vachon, Augusta: Vachon coached Cony High girls’ basketball from 1985 to 2008 and won seven Class A state titles and 11 Eastern Maine titles. His teams compiled an overall record of 451-40. He was the starting point guard on the 1973 Cony Class A state title team. Since his retirement from coaching, Vachon has been the Cony athletic director.
• Manchester “Manch” Wheeler, Brewer: Wheeler was a two-way standout at quarterback and safety at UMaine from 1958 to 1961. He led the Black Bears in total offense his junior and senior years and directed Maine to the 1961 Yankee Conference football championship. As a senior, he averaged 10.9 yards per carry. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League and also played for the Boston Patriots.
• John Wolfgram, South Portland: Wolfgram has coached teams to 10 high school football state championships — at Madison (1), Gardiner (3), South Portland (4) and Cheverus (2). His Cheverus teams set a Class A record with a 34-game winning streak over the last three seasons. That broke the mark of 31 set by his South Portland teams from 1995-97. Wolfgram, a Massachusetts native, played football at the University of Maine.
The five scholar-athletes to be honored are Georgia Bolduc, Waterville; Caitlin Bucksbaum, Falmouth; Adrienne Carmack, John Bapst; Madeline Wiegman, Leavitt; and Evan Worster, Forest Hills.
Richard Austin will receive the outstanding achievement award for his world age-group weightlifting achievements. Austin, 81, won his eighth world title in the 220-pound master division for powerlifters in the 80 to 84 age group. He was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
Tickets for the banquet are $40 for members of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and $45 for nonmembers. A reserved table is $400 for 10 seats. Tickets may be purchased until April 28. Checks should be made payable to the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. To purchase tickets online, visit www.mshof.com and click on the banquet tickets link.
A social hour is scheduled for 11 a.m. The dinner buffet will begin at noon.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: [email protected]