Several new Maine Basketball Hall of Fame inductees are introduced to the media Wednesday afternoon at Cheverus High School in Portland. The new class will be inducted in Bangor in August.
Paul Burnell, left, a member of the 1978-79 South Portland boys’ basketball team, and longtime coach Tom Maines converse following the Hall of Fame announcement. Maines is being inducted as an individual, while Burnell will go in with his teammates.
PORTLAND—Longtime coach Tom Maines feels that basketball’s appeal in the state of Maine is simple.
“It’s the only sport that’s played by every school in the state,” said Maines, who coached the Morse boys to Class A state championships in 1987, 1988 and 1989 and capped his career by directing the Scarborough girls to a better-than-expected season in 2011-12. “Not everyone has football, soccer or swimming, but everyone has basketball. Second, everybody has played basketball somewhere. In the dooryard, in phys ed, somewhere. Also, the tournament brings memories every February and March. I’m thrilled to have been a part of it.”
Maines wasn’t just part of playing and coaching in the state.
He’s now part of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame’s fourth induction class, which was announced Wednesday. Several players and coaches with local connections got the nod.
Maines won 369 games and is in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, but after helping found and raise funds for the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame, his life in the sport is complete.
“It’s wonderful to join my friends that I coached with and people I played against,” Maines said. “For me, playing was wonderful, but coaching lasted a lifetime.”
In all, the new class numbers 19 and also includes former Portland High girls’ standout Cathy Iaconeta, who went on to become an All-Conference player at the University of Maine.
Tony Hamlin, the Chair of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame, said that after a couple of years of inducting “old timers,” fans will recognize more contemporaries in this class, which was chosen with consideration of gender, race and geography in mind.
“It’s a very good class,” Hamlin said. “It’s more eclectic than other classes.”
In addition to Iaconeta and Maines, the 2017 induction class includes the following:
* Tim Bonsant, a standout at Erskine Academy and the University of Southern Maine.
* Cameron Brown, a scoring leader at the University of Maine-Farmington and a member of the UMF and New England Basketball Halls of Fame.
* Kelly Butterfield, who scored over 1,000 points at Gorham High School, leading the Rams to four Class A championships, before playing at the University of New Hampshire and professionally in Australia and Ireland.
* Terry Carr, a standout player at Stearns High School, who led the Minutemen to a New England championship before playing at the University of Maine.
* Bob Cimbollek, who played at Husson, won five state titles as a coach and later served as an official before being named to the Husson Sports Hall of Fame and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
* Rick Clark, the former York girls’ coach, who bowed out last season after winning 509 games and four state championships, including the 2016 Class A crown. Clark has been inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
* Paul Cook, a one-time standout at Lubec High School, Maine Central Institute and the University of Maine.
* Derek Counts, who led Oak Grove-Coburn to three regional titles while scoring over 2,000 points before starring at UNH.
* Gary Fifield, the legendary coach at USM, who has won 660 games and 21 Little East titles.
* Dick Giroux, who starred at Lewiston High School and Husson College.
* Derrick Hodge, who scored over 1,000 points at Morse High School, then tallied 1,206 points at the University of Maine.
* Diane Nagle, a star player at Houlton and the University of Maine.
* Bernard “Bunny” Parady, a coach and administrator at Mt. Desert High School. Parady, who won four state titles and who has been inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and Maine Sports Legends Hall of Fame, is being inducted posthumously.
* Terry Spurling, a standout player at Ellsworth High School and the University of Maine and coach at Aroostook Central Institute and Houlton.
* Jim Stephenson, a star at U. Maine, who once set the program record for most points in a game (54).
* Kissy Walker, a star player at Cony High School and U. Maine, who later coached at Husson before being inducted in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
* Russell Wally, a star at Penquis High School and the University of Maine, who later coached the Penquis boys’ and girls’ teams.
The Hall of Fame also has a Legends category, which this year will induct Red Barry, a longtime coach at Bangor High School, Dwight Carver, a former standout at Jonesport-Beals, Gary Hawkins, a former coach and Kennebec Journal sportswriter, Chick Marchetti, a longtime official, Tom Pelletier, a standout at Fort Kent, and Bob Woodbury, the longtime voice of basketball in the Waterville area.
Last, but certainly not least, two all-time great teams are being inducted. That includes the 1980 Westbrook girls, who were part of a four-year Class A title run and featured Lisa Blais, who went on to win a national championship at Old Dominion University.
The second team still brings a smile to those on the south side of the Casco Bay Bridge, the 1978-79 South Portland boys’ squad, which won all 22 games, then crushed Presque Isle, 102-58, in the Class A state final, the largest margin of victory every in a state game.
The 1978-79 Red Riots were coached by the legendary Bob Brown and featured his son, Brett (who now coaches the Philadelphia 76ers), Ken Lynch, Paul Gorham, Paul Burnell, Chris Bolduc and Paul McFarland, among others.
“It’s overwhelming to be put in the conversation,” said Burnell. “It’s nice to represent the other guys. It’s fun to look back. We realized we were pretty good, but I don’t think we ever thought we’d be considered like we are now. We had a lot of fun doing it. It was a perfect combination of talent, hard work and a great bench. We were all dedicated. Coach Brown led the way. We got great support from the community.
“It’s always good to be remembered.”
All of the inductees will get one more moment in the limelight at the induction ceremony Aug. 20 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.