- Police Beat
- The Forecaster
FALMOUTH — Mari Warner, a physical education teacher at Falmouth High School, has been inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Maine.
Warner may be best known for her years playing basketball at the University of Maine, but she also coached the sport for 20 years at the University of Albany in New York, where she oversaw the program’s rise from Division III to Division I competition.
Warner graduated from Thornton Academy in Saco in the late 1970s and was named to the first All-State Women’s Team by the Bangor Daily News. After coming back to Maine, she also coached basketball at Falmouth High School from 2010 to 2016.
She still plays the game through the Maine Senior Women’s Basketball program. Her team, Team Phoenix, has qualified for the national Senior Games being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in June.
Maine Senior Women’s Basketball consists of “a group of passionate athletes, age 45-75 who compete in 3-on-3 half court games, representing the state of Maine in regional and national tournaments,” according to the organization’s website.
“The group currently consists of five teams in four age brackets. (The) teams routinely bring home medals from National Senior Games, making Maine one of the foremost states for senior women’s basketball,” the website says.
Warner joins her brother, Robert, in the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame. The duo are the first brother-and-sister inductees.
Warner lives in Saco, in the same house she grew up in, and said she chose to attend the University of Maine because that’s also where her brother played.
After graduating from UMaine, Warner went to the University of Albany, where she earned a master’s degree. She was named head coach of the basketball team there at the age of 23 and was one of the youngest head coaches in the country.
“I was fortunate to be surrounded by great coaches and administrators that helped me through my early years of coaching,” she said. After amassing a record of 299 wins, Warner then taught physical education and coached at Lansingburgh High School in Troy, New York, where she earned her 300th win.
Warner called being inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame, “very humbling. Basketball turned into my profession for 34 years and there are so many people who share this honor with me, coaches and players alike.”
“I have always loved the game, pure and simple,” she said. “I love the X’s and O’s, (but) beyond that is the camaraderie that develops between teammates and the lessons learned on the court.”
Warner has been teaching physical education at Falmouth High for the past eight years and said what she most enjoys about the job is “the emphasis (now) being placed on lifetime fitness.”
“I teach because I hope to make a difference in students’ lives. The connection you can make with students in physical education is different than in a classroom setting.”
For Warner, the most important aspect of playing sports is that “the friendships made while participating can be lifelong.”
Mari Warner, now a physical education teacher at Falmouth High School, was recently inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame. Warner coached the University of Albany in New York to 299 wins and took the program from Division III to Division I.