PORTLAND – Portland High has a new athletic scholarship that it will award to a deserving senior boy or girl at the school’s scholarship night May 23. The award is named for Andy Lano, a standout three-sport athlete for the Bulldogs in the 1940s and later at Bowdoin College.
The Lano Family Foundation formed a nonprofit organization to help raise funds for the scholarship, called the Handy Andy Lano Memorial Award.
“We wanted to create something unique in memory of our father to help invest in the future of student-athletes,” said his son, Andy Lano II. “That’s the scholarship’s motto, ‘Investing In The Future Of Student Athletes.’ “
Lano died in November 2011 at age 83.
The award carries an annual $2,000 scholarship to be used for post-secondary education. It is good for four years of college as long as the recipient maintains a 2.5 grade-point average.
A candidate must letter in a minimum of two varsity sports during the fiscal school year while maintaining a 2.2 grade-point average. The sports are football, field hockey, girls’ soccer, basketball, baseball and softball.
The selection committee will look for candidates in these sports who exhibit, according to the award’s description, versatility, hustle, dedication and enthusiasm, and compete with a never-say-die attitide while showing good sportsmanship and the ability to excel above the competition.
Lano earned the nickname Handy Andy for his versatility in playing multiple positions and his never-say-die attitude.
The selection committee will be comprised of administrators, the coaches of the six sports involved and Peter Gribbin, a former teacher at Portland, school historian, and the public-address announcer for football and basketball games.
“It seems like every year a new scholarship comes to Portland High,” said Kimberly Wike, an assistant principal and chairperson of the scholarship committee.”It’s truly heartfelt and exciting that the Lano family is doing this.”
The committee will nominate deserving student-athletes and after a discussion, select the winner.
In the event of a tie, the Lano Family Foundation will review the top candidates and cast the deciding vote.
“It’s basically an athletic award,” said Lano. “We wanted to emphasize the sports my father played. We’re not looking for grades to hold a candidate back. That’s why we went with a 2.2 GPA. We’re basically handing this over to Portland High, but the Lano Family Foundation is responsible for the funds for the scholarship.”
Lano was captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams as a senior at Portland. As a freshman, he played on the 1943 Class A basketball state championship team.
He won the Vinall Trophy in 1945 as the MVP of the Western Class A basketball tournament.
Lano was a three-time All-Telegram League selection in baseball as a pitcher-shortstop for the Bulldogs. He won the Telegram League batting championships in 1945 and 1946 with .448 and .508 averages.
Lano was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
The Lano family will host a golf tournament June 8 at Riverside Golf Course in Portland. The first Action Andy Memorial Classic will be a scramble tournament beginning at 1 p.m., followed by lunch and a silent auction.
Having a tournament at Riverside is fitting. After his football, basketball and baseball playing days were over, Lano turned to golf and was a longtime member at Riverside, where he made numerous friends or continued the friendships he had made in high school and college sports.
“Having the golf tournament is a way to help build the scholarship fund for future student-athletes,” said Lano.
Lano said part of the funds raised will go toward Glaucoma and Aortic Abdomen Aneurysm (AAA) research.
The Lano Family Foundation is also accepting donations. There are various donor levels.
Donations should be made payable to the Lano Family Foundation and mailed to Thompson and Bowie, c/o The Lano Family Foundation, 3 Canal Plaza, P.O. Box 4630, Portland, Me. 04112.
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at [email protected]