Brunswick standout Ralph Mims drives to the basket during the 2004 Class A final game against Portland in Portland. Portland Press Herald file photo


Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of our series, “Catching Up With,” in which we catch up with some people we’ve covered over the last few decades.

BRUNSWICK — Ralph Mims will forever be remembered as one of the best high school basketball players to come out of Maine. His resume is undeniable.

Mims led Brunswick to the 2002 Class A state title, and then took the Dragons back to states in 2004.

Mims, who averaged 29.8 points and 11.4 rebounds a game with the Dragons, went on to play at Division I power Florida State University and coach Leonard Hamilton.

Now, the 35-year-old Mims resides in Pace, Florida, where he owns and operates his own training company, R. Mims Training, in which young players are groomed to play at the next level. Mims conducts the training in his backyard.

“I wanted to do something where I could give back to my community,” said Mims, who moved to Maine from Florida at the end of his seventh grade year. “I started it this past May and it’s been taking off ever since.”

Before he started his training business, Mims taught and coached at Milton High School in Milton, Florida for four years.

Mims was an assistant varsity coach and the junior varsity head coach, while also working with students with special needs.

“Being on the sideline was sort of a mutual yet different feeling,” Mims explained. “I learned a lot and had a great experience at Milton.”

It was at Milton when Mims got the idea of running his own training program.

“My main goal is to show these kids how to work hard and the proper skills to be a good basketball player. A place for them to develop their game was lacking, so I decided to take it upon myself and do my part to help out,” Mims said.

Mims is hoping to expand his training business once the pandemic is over.

Ralph Mims sits at his home in Pace, Florida last month. Contributed photo/Ralph Mims

While he is not training young athletes, Mims is a stay-at-home dad, with four children aged 13, 12, 6, and 9 months.

“It feels good to sort of just settle in and take care of my family,” said Mims. “The feeling I get while being a father is something I never felt before.”

After a four-year career at FSU, Mims played professionally in Turkey, France and Greece.

“It was completely different over there in terms of style of play,” Mims said. “There was an adjustment period, but I never took anything for granted when I was playing in Europe.”

Mims says his time at Florida State and overseas helped him grow, but he still credits Brunswick for having a big impact on his life.

Mims moved to Brunswick from Pensacola, Florida when his dad, who was in the Navy, was stationed in Brunswick.

“It was no doubt a culture shock, moving from one place like Pensacola to another like Brunswick, but I had no trouble or issues at all during my time in Maine,” Mims said.

Mims attended Brunswick Middle School in eighth grade, then attended Brunswick High.

Brunswick boys basketball head coach Todd Hanson still communicates monthly with Mims.

“Ralph is a special guy and a special player, I guess you can call those years the glory days of Brunswick basketball,” Hanson said.

While Mims was the standout, Hanson noted that he came to a team loaded with talent.

“He came into a situation where we had talent and were able to take some pressure off of him,” Hanson added. “As he developed through the years he showed the state what he could do on the court.”

There was no greater moment for Mims and the Dragons when they took home the 2002 Class A state championship.

Ralph Mims heads up the court during a 2007 game at Florida State. Contributed photo/Florida State University

The Dragons defeated Deering 83-60, behind 31 points by Mims. The Dragons came into that game as heavy underdogs, facing a loaded Deering roster led by the likes of Nik Caner-Medley and Walter Phillips. Mims remembers the bus ride to the game like it was yesterday.

“I remember I was still young, just a sophomore, but I told the guys on the bus there was no way we were losing this game,” Mims said. “I ate a snickers and Reese’s cup before that game, something I never do, I like to think it gave me the adrenaline I needed.”

Hanson recalled the two games leading up to the state title game when thinking back to the 2002 championship run.

“We sort of grinded out the two games before the state title game, then we played our best game of the year against Deering,” Hanson said. “We were fortunate to peak at the perfect time.”

Mims was special on the court that night, but perhaps had an even more special moment off the court. His father had been deployed overseas, but Mims promised his father that if he came home for the state championship game, he wouldn’t let him down. Sure enough, he didn’t.

“That was a special moment for me, I was locked in and no one was going to stop us from winning that game,” Mims said. “To share that moment with my father, that was a night I know I will never forget.”

Mims again led the Dragons to the state title game in 2004 as a senior but fell short in the final game despite a heroic performance. Mims saved his best for last, dropping a career high 46 points in the loss to Portland.

“On and off the court Brunswick made me the man I am today, and the town holds a special place in my heart,” Mims said. “I think of Maine as a second home and I want everyone in Brunswick to know I love and appreciate the people and the town of Brunswick from the bottom of my heart.”

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