AUGUSTA — Maine sports legend Ted Shiro, who made history at Waterville High School and Colby College and who once outscored NBA Hall of Fame member Bob Cousy in a Boston Celtics preseason game, died Wednesday at a hospice care facility in Naples, Florida. He was 87.
“He was an icon,” said nephew Peter Beckerman, 67, a Sidney resident who flew to Florida on Monday to be with Shiro. “Thank goodness we came down when we did. We talked a little bit. … He was failing. He really went downhill very rapidly the last week and a half. He went very peacefully surrounded by family and very close friends. It’s a big loss, just a very big loss. He will be missed.”
Shiro is a member of seven sports halls of fame, including the Maine Basketball, New England Sports and Maine Baseball hall of fames.
Shiro earned 12 varsity letters playing three sports at Waterville High School, where he graduated in 1947. He helped the Panthers win 67 consecutive games and consecutive state championships in 1944 and ’45. Waterville also won a New England high school basketball title in this time as well.
In 1945, Shiro became the first high school basketball player to earn All-New England honors for two consecutive years.
“He had all sorts of talent,” Beckerman said. “Can you imagine winning 67 games in a row? Just incredible.”
Shiro went on to Colby College, where he graduated in 1951 as the program’s all-time leading scorer. He scored 1,212 points in three years (freshmen were prohibited from playing on the varsity team at the time), which is good for 16th all-time in program history. He was the first student-athlete to score 1,000 career points at Colby.
Shiro, a shooting guard who also played baseball and football at Colby, earned All-American honors in 1951 as well.
After graduating from Colby, Shiro earned a tryout with the Boston Celtics. He played in 12 preseason games with the Celtics and was the final player cut on the 1951-52 team that featured future Hall of Famers Cousy, Bill Sharman and Ed Macauley.
“He scored 12 points in a preseason game that Cousy only scored 11 in,” Beckerman said. “He remembered that. He was just a great athlete. He was all-everything. He really was an icon.”