You could argue that no school boasts as rich a football history as Portland High School and now, the Bulldogs have come up with a way to immortalize their heroes, while reminding current stars of what came before with the creation a PHS Football Hall of Fame.
Last week, current Portland football coach Jim Hartman announced the inaugural class of seven men, who will be honored in ceremonies next month.
Willie Greenlaw, Ed Bogdanovich, Quinton Porter, John Conroy, James J. Fitzpatrick, Sean Hawkins and Mike Rutherford make up the first class.
Greenlaw, Class of 1953, played at Nebraska (and played in an Orange Bowl) and is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame, He’s also a Maine Sports Hall of Famer. Greenlaw also was a standout baseball player, who spent time in the minors. He later played semi-pro football for the popular Portland Seahawks team.
Bogdanovich, Class of 1977, was a star running back on the gridiron and a track standout, who still holds state records.
Porter, Class of 2001, was a superb quarterback for the Bulldogs, starred at Boston College, then later played in Canadian Football League.
Conroy, Class of 1926, was a star lineman who went to Fordham and was an original member of the famed “Seven Blocks of Granite.” Vince Lombardi was a later “Block of Granite.” Conroy later taught, coached football and basketball and was a guidance counselor at Portland High. Conroy is a member of the Fordham Hall of Fame and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Fitzpatrick, is so legendary that he has a stadium and a trophy named for him. Originally from Connecticut, he was a star athlete at Boston College. Fitzpatrick once engaged in a kicking contest with the legendary Jim Thorpe and according to legend, struck out Babe Ruth twice in an exhibition. Fitzpatrick coached baseball, basketball and football at Portland High and later served a long stint as athletic director as teacher. Fitzpatrick is a member of the BC Hall of Fame and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Hawkins, Class of 1984, was a standout wide receiver for the Bulldogs’ 1982 championship team, won the Fitzy in 1983 and played at Cornell.
Rutherford, Class of 1983, quarterbacked the 1982 championship team and won the Fitzy that year. He was also a standout baseball player, who played in college and spent many years as the Bulldogs baseball coach. He’s currently an assistant with the football team.
The induction ceremony is Nov. 27 at 7 p.m., at the Italian Heritage Center. The public is welcome. Inductees will then be honored at halftime of the following day’s Turkey Day game.