Dave Rollins remembers with great clarity when the Cony boys basketball team edged Rumford High for the 1973 Class A title, the first played at the newly constructed Augusta Civic Center.

It was, Rollins fondly recalled, pandemonium.

“When the buzzer went off, the crowd stormed the court,” said Rollins, Cony’s top player and scorer during the season. “There wasn’t this organized, bring the ladders out and cut the nets down in front of spectators (deal). It was a mob scene. People mobbing you. A high level of jubilation, heading back to the high school to celebrate (the win). It was something you never forget, for sure.”

In 1972, the State Principals’ Association (now the Maine Principals’ Association) and Augusta City Manager Paul G. Poulin announced that the Augusta Civic Center would host the 1973 state boys basketball championship games in Classes A through D. The title games were previously held at the Bangor Auditorium.

Cony, which had lost a tough 77-75 game to Westbrook in the 1972 Class A final, would earn redemption in 1973. And the Rams did it in front of massive crowds — 6,024 flocked to the Augusta Ciciv Center for the state final against Rumford.

They also did it with a strong and versatile roster, led by do-it-all star Dave Rollin, a 6-foot-5 forward. Tim Leet, Paul Vachon, Bill Hayward, Neal Glazier and sixth man Steve Marchildon also played big roles. Guided by fiery head coach Dick Hunt, the Rams went 22-0 in the 1972-73 season.


“We ran people off the court and played tough (defense),” Hayward said. “We had grit…. We had an up-tempo game. We didn’t walk it up the court. We had a fast-pace game and played tenacious D.”

It as an impressive season, considering the team had a heavy roster turnover; ten junior varsity players from the season before made the jump up, including Vachon and Leet. Both were thrust into the lineup early, as Vachon became the starting point guard after original starter Tom Cooper was injured in an accident. Vachon never relinquished the job.

“I played to my potential, gave the ball up to David every time I could,” Vachon said. “I was pretty smart in that aspect, making sure the right people got the ball.”

The Cony High boys basketball team edged Rumford to win the 1973 Class A title, the first championship games played in the Augusta Civic Center. The story is featured on the March 19, 1973 Kennebec Journal.

Added Leet: “(Former Kennebec Journal sports editor) Ken Marriner used to call David ‘Mr. Do Everything. He was a really an exceptional player with exceptional talent.”

Leet provided a solid shooting touch and took advantage of scoring opportunities when Rollins drew double teams. Glazier provided speed and strong defensive play. Hayward, a 6-6 forward, was strong on the boards.

“I was not a shooter, but I was a scrapper on defense, just causing headaches,” Glazier said. “If the ball was loose on the floor, I was going after it.”


Coach Hunt encouraged players to believe in themselves, and also enjoyed breaking down film of opponents. He also had no problem holding his players accountable.

“He was a really fiery guy, during a game he’d get right in your face,” Leet said. “He used to run the (wind) right out of us.”

The team enjoyed an added benefit that year as well: Its home games were played in the new Augusta Civic Center.

“We outgrew, as far as attendance was concerned, at Cony High School,” said Vachon, who would later go on to coach the Cony girls basketball team to seven Class A titles, earning him Maine Sports Hall of Fame honors. “That’s why we moved to the Civic Center to play. … We averaged at least 1,000 fans a night for sure. Basketball was the game in town. We were well-watched and well-followed for sure.”

“Back then, (the Civic Center) had kind of floppy rims,” Leet said. “I think now they have better equipment and real sturdy (rims). But as a shooter, I got to practice there every day. It was floppy enough to forgive some of my not-so dead shots. I thought it was amazing. I just loved playing (at the Civic Center). Brand new court, it was so crisp and nice. I was just lucky.”

Cony hosted Waterville in an early contest at the Civic Center, one that involved players, coaches and building personnel helping to fix an issue with the court.


Former players on the 1972-73 Cony High state championship team go through an old scarpbook on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. Paul Vachon, left, holds the book as Neal Glazier, David Rollins and Tim Leet reminisce. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“We went before the game to have shootaround,” Vachon said. “We get there, we get on the floor. They had waxed the floor and it was an ice skating rink. We were sliding everywhere. We said, ‘We can’t play this game.’ But our coach said ‘We’ve got to play this game.’ So there we were, with soap and buckets and we were scrubbing that floor. Custodians, basketball players, coaches. We finally got the floor done, dried up and got to play the game. It was crazy.”

Cony would breeze through the tournament and win the Eastern Class A title. To win states, the Rams would have to beat Western A champion Rumford, which Cony had sank twice in the regular season by six or fewer points.

“(Rumford) were bigger than us,” said Rollins, who was the Mayor of Augusta from 2014 to last year. “They had two very experienced guards up front. They had a superior athlete in Marty Milligan that guarded all alone. Whatever else other people were doing defensively, he was in my face. He was a quarterback/linebacker (in football), Dartmouth College football player. He was 6-3 and a formidable athlete. They were very good offensively and defensively and bigger than us. And they definitely had more kids that went on to play college sports than we did.”

The former Cony players insist that the 1973 Class A final was the largest attended game in Augusta Civic Center history.

“Nowadays, they have concessions on one end of the floor, and there’s bleachers that don’t even come out,” Rollins said. “This game was loaded. All the bleachers were out, it was full, natural capacity. Chairs were brought in because if you see all the bleachers pulled out, down at the end where the bands play, there’s still space to the court. There were four or five rows of folding chairs at both ends. The catwalks on all levels, including the upper corners, were full of people, standing room only. It was absolutely maxed.”

The 1972-73 Cony boys basketball team won the Class A final at the Augusta Civic Center. Neal Glazier, who brought the championship plaque to the CIvic Center on Feb. 9, was a key player of the Rams that season. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Cony entered the game with a different offensive strategy. But after a couple of early missed shots, Rollins called a timeout.


“(Vachon) comes up, takes one, two, maybe three shots, nobody (else) on the offensive end had touched the ball,” Rollins said. “After not getting into the flow of the offense, up goes a (Rumford) shot, I get the rebound and I call a timeout,” Rollins said. “Dick was like, ‘Who called timeout?’ He kind of scolded me. When we got back on the court, back on the floor, I got in (Vachon’s) ear, ‘Get the ball going, get us the ball so we can move the offense.’ I spoke for everybody, we wanted to get into more into a typical (offensive) approach instead of this well-intended strategy that hadn’t really come to fruition as something that was beneficial to us. It was pretty intense, but that’s what floor leadership is.”

On the court, it was a battle. Cony led 27-21 at halftime but Rumford fought back and took a 46-45 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Rams then responded with an 11-0 run, including seven points from Rollins.

The Rams hung on late for the 67-61 win. They shot 25 of 60 (41.7 percent) from the floor and hit 17 of 21 (80.9 percent) of their free throws. Rollins led the way with 20 points, while Leet added 18. Glazier scored 12 points.

The game also marked the end of Hunt’s tenure at Cony; he would go on to coach at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia the following season.

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