Former University of Maine, Michigan State and Duke University women’s basketball coach Joanne P. McCallie will take part in a Maine Sports Hall of Fame webinar encouraging high school students to become leaders, on Wednesday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Each year the Maine Sports Hall of Fame celebrates the past with an induction ceremony for some of the state’s most deserving athletes.

This year, it will also look to elevate the state’s future, holding a webinar on Wednesday for Maine high school students designed to get them thinking about some of today’s biggest issues and encourage them to become leaders in their community.

“The idea is to be inspirational and encourage the kids to become leaders,” said Dajuan Eubanks, the president of the Maine Red Claws who will talk during the seminar on Social Justice in Sports. “They are already in that role in high school  … They are already seen as role models because of their involvement in athletics. We want to encourage them to step up to the platform and use their voices.”

Bill Green, the Maine Sports Hall of Fame’s executive director and host of the webinar, said the association wanted to expand its scope in the state.

“We’re trying to broaden our offerings,” he said. “We’re trying to be more than just an induction ceremony. We want to be a bigger part of the community.

“And this seemed to be the right time to do this.”

The webinar will be broken into three topics: Social Justice in Sports at 9 a.m., with guest speakers Allison Feaster, the Boston Celtics vice president of player development and personal growth, and Eubanks; Women Becoming Coaches at 10 a.m., led by former University of Maine, Michigan State and Duke University head coach Joanne P. McCallie and current UMaine head coach Amy Vachon; The Total Student at 11 a.m., with speakers Mike DeVito, a former UMaine and NFL defensive lineman, and Maddie Hasson, a South Portland native who starred at Bowdoin College and was the NCAA Division III Player of the Year in 2019-20.

Eubanks, who played at Rice University and was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, said he will have a simple message for the students: make your voice heard. While Maine is among the whitest states in the nation, Eubanks said the subjects of race and social justice still resonate.

“Regardless of where you are, you can still be practicing individual leadership,” he said. “Whether it’s race or another issue more pertinent to you in your area, this is a chance to be a leader.”

Hasson, who graduated from Bowdoin last spring, is home after spending the fall in Dublin, Ireland, where she is studying for her master’s degree in International Business Management at Griffith College while also playing for a semi-pro basketball team, the Templeogue Basketball Club.

She hopes to use her experiences at South Portland and Bowdoin, where she was a top academic student and heavily involved in community activities, to talk about being a Total Student, instead of just an athlete.

“The Brunswick community, while I was at Bowdoin, gave me so much, and South Portland gave me so much over the years,” she said. “It’s important to be involved and give back to those communities.”

For McCallie, the chance to talk about getting more women involved in coaching was too big to pass. She said it’s all about allowing girls to see at an early age that coaching is an option.

“Even for me, I fell into coaching by accident,” said McCallie. “I didn’t see it as the ultimate journey or occupation for me. But getting (coaching) on the radar sooner and helping prepare will help … This is a great way to start the conversation.”

She added that Vachon, who played for McCallie at UMaine, already started that conversation during the summer with her online workshops dedicated to female high school coaches. “Amy is not just an impressive coach, she’s such a great ambassador for the state,” said McCallie.

Green said they had hoped to hold an in-person symposium, but that COVID-19 safety guidelines would not allow it. He said students can still register to attend by going to the hall of fame’s website: mshof.com/webinar. The webinar was originally intended just for high school sophomores but has been extended to include any student interested in attending.

Tom Caron, the Lewiston native who now hosts the Boston Red Sox pre- and post-game shows on NESN, will be the moderator.

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