The inaugural class of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame includes a father and son, a coach and two of his players, and three women who helped usher in the growth of girls’ high school basketball in the state.
At a press conference Wednesday at the Cumberland County Civic Center, the recently formed Maine Basketball Hall of Fame announced its first class of inductees, who will be honored Aug. 21 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Tony Hamlin, vice chairman of the Hall directors and chairman of the selection committee, called it “an important day for Maine basketball.” Hamlin, a former coach at Morse, South Portland and Penquis Valley high schools, introduced the 16 players, five coaches, one official and one contributor who will be honored.
The father-and-son combination to be inducted are Bob and Brett Brown as a coach and player, respectively. The coach and two of his players are Dick Whitmore, Brad Moore and Matt Hancock. The women inductees who were trailblazers in improving the quality of girls’ basketball are Lisa Blais Manning, Rachel Bouchard and Joanne P. McCallie.
The inaugural class does not have Cindy Blodgett, a star at Lawrence High and the University of Maine. Players aren’t eligible until 20 years after their playing career. Blodgett’s last season at Maine was 1997-98.
“There will be a healthy discussion of who’s not in,” said Hamlin, a guard at the University of Maine in the early 1970s.
The idea of the Hall began four years ago and got serious two years later.
“We’ve been going full steam at this for the last nine months,” said Hamlin. “People behind this movement have put a lot of time in. We have a nominating committee with a combined 720 years of basketball experience. There was a lot of discussion on the nominations. We wanted to do it the right way.
“The committee felt 16 players, five coaches, a referee and a contributor was a good number for the first year. We’re not locked into a set number of inductees each year.”
The Hall will be housed at the Cross Insurance Center. The history of Maine basketball is already on display there.
• Lisa Blais Manning: Led Westbrook to four straight Class A titles, then became a four-year starter at Old Dominion, helping her team win the NCAA title.
• Rachel Bouchard: A two-time all-state player at Hall-Dale High, then a two-time North Atlantic Conference player of the Year and two-time Kodak All-American at Maine.
• Brett Brown: Led South Portland to two Western Maine championships and the Class A state title in 1979. Played for Rick Pitino at Boston University, where he was the team MVP as a sophomore. Current coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.
• Skip Chappelle: At the University of Maine from 1959-62, led the Yankee Conference in scoring three straight years. Later coached the Black Bears for 17 years. Chappelle led Old Town High to the 1957 Class LL state title before prepping a year at MCI. Drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1962 and became life- long friends with K.C. Jones.
• Danny Coombs: An all-state selection at Brewer High in 1960, scoring 35 points in the state final and 104 in three tourney games that season. Went to Seton Hall on a basketball scholarship before signing a pro baseball contract. Pitched seven years in the majors.
• Don Crosby: An all-New England and Scholastic Magazine All-American at Cony High in 1966. Led the Rams to the Class LL state title, then was on the 1969 Boston College team that reached the NIT final.
• Matt Donahue: Scored 1,513 points for Westbrook in the pre-3-point shot era. First-team all-state player as a junior and senior. Set the school single-game scoring record with 57 points against Deering in 1970. Led the Blue Blazes to the Western Maine title in 1969 before losing to Caribou in the state final on a half-court shot at the buzzer. Averaged 25 points a game at USM.
• Joe Harrington: Led Morse to the Class LL state title, beating Stearns in 1963. Morse then lost to Stearns in the New England final at Boston Garden. A two-year all-state player who later played for Maryland and Coach Lefty Driesell. The Celtics drafted Harrington in 1967. Harrington later coached at Hofstra, George Mason, Long Beach State and Colorado. He was also an assistant with the Toronto Raptors.
• Matt Hancock: Led Lake Region to the 1985 Class B state title and was named all-state. A Division III All-American three straight years at Colby and in 1990, was the Division III player of the year. Won the Division III scoring title in 1988, averaging 33 points per game. Maine’s all-time college scoring leader.
“I was able to score the points I did at Colby because of Coach Whitmore,” said Hancock. “He supported and encouraged it. I was a pretty good player in high school but I changed as a player my first day on campus at Colby. A lot of it was just in the manner of how to approach the game. Everything I achieved at Colby was because of Coach Whitmore.”
• Jon MacDonald: Like Harrington, played for the University of Maryland, where he captained the team in the 1968-69 season. A teammate and roommate of Gary Williams, who would coach the Terrapins to a national title. A first-team all-state selection for three years at Stearns High. In 1963, was named All-New England and Parade Magazine All-American.
• John Mitchell: One of the best shooters in Maine high school history. His Waterville High teams were 70-2 in the mid-1940s, winning the Maine and New England titles in 1944. An All-New England selection at Providence, then served as an assistant at Colby College under Dick Whitmore for 40 years.
• Joanne P. McCallie: Class A all-state two years at Brunswick, then played four years at Northwestern. Coached at Maine when it was one of the top teams in New England. Currently the coach at Duke, one of the top teams in the country.
“I just so enjoyed my playing days in Maine and growing up there,” said McCallie. “It’s a fabulous honor. I’m absolutely thrilled. I’m a bit surprised (to go in as a player) because I only see myself as a coach now.”
• Brad Moore: The career scoring leader at Hall-Dale High in the early 1970s, where his number is retired, and the rebounding leader and third-leading career scorer for Colby. An All-Maine college first-team selection, All-ECAC Division III choice and third-team Division III All-American.
• Steve Pound: Class LL first- team all-state as a senior in 1968, leading Stearns to the state title. Scored 68 points in his first game as a senior and averaged 40 his senior year before the 3-point shot. Played at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, ending as the school’s all-time scorer. Led his team to the Canadian title.
• Doug Roberts: Led Rumford to the 1974 and ’76 Class A titles and the ’76 New England title. First-team all-state as a junior and senior. Scored more than 1,400 career points. Played at Acadia University, then transferred to Clark in Worcester, Mass., where he scored more than 1,000 points and was All-New England. Longtime successful coach at Sanford High.
• Jack Scott: Played for Ellsworth in the mid-1950s, leading the team to a state title and appearance in the New England tournament. Went to Connecticut, then finished his career at Husson. Remained active in semipro leagues as a player-coach for his own team. A longtime teacher-coach at Ellsworth.
• Ordie Alley: Won more than 600 games at Jonesport-Beals High, including 13 Eastern Maine titles and nine state championships, five in a row. His teams made the tournament in 37 of his 39 seasons.
• Bob Brown: Coached for 50 years, 42 as a head coach. Won more than 600 games with four state titles and seven regional championships. A head coach at six Maine high schools, and a college head coach at USM, Boston University and St. Anselm.
“I’m very proud and honored to be a member of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame,” said Brown. “The players I coached allowed me to win games. Without them I wouldn’t be here today.”
• Paul Vachon: Coached the Cony girls to seven Class A titles and 11 Eastern Maine titles. His teams won 451 games and made the tournament 23 straight seasons. His .910 winning percentage was one of the highest in the country.
• George Wentworth: A legend in Maine high school basketball. The Notre Dame graduate turned Stearns into a perennial champion and helped put the state on the New England basketball map when his Minutemen won the 1963 New England championship.
• Dick Whitmore: With 635 career wins, is the most successful college coach in Maine history. His Colby College teams won 31 CBB championships and three ECAC titles, making three NCAA tourney appearances.
“To be able to stand up with the quality of people here is an honor that I can’t completely describe,” said Whitmore.
• Bob Butler: The longtime statistician and historian for Maine high school basketball. The former York High athletic director compiled the Heal points for the Maine Principals’ Association for close to 60 years.
• Jim DiFrederico: One of the top basketball officials in Maine for years. He died in 1985.
The Hall also will honor the 1944 Waterville High basketball team that captured the state and New England championships.
Tickets to the induction ceremony can be obtained at www.mainebasketballhalloffame.com
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: