Thanks to contributing on the journey to a satisfying basketball career

It takes many people to put an individual on the journey to a satisfying career.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all involved for providing the reasons I am humbly being inducted into the 2013 Class of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame as a basketball contributor for being a jack of all basketball trades and a master of none.

I began playing basketball in the second grade in 1944 when my dad put up a hoop in our backyard off the barn wall. I have to thank my parents who encouraged my interest in the game and especially my dad who came up with the idea of putting another backboard off a big tree at the opposite end.

He had the yard paved and put up a light, so it became the first two-basket outdoor court in Bangor in 1947.

The first coach I want to thank is Mr. Wilson, who allowed me to play on the sixth grade Abraham Lincoln Elementary basketball team as a fifth-grader.

When I entered Garland Street Junior High School, my physical education teacher/basketball coach was Mr. Frank Charbonneau.

He deserves a special thanks for putting up with a small, skinny seventh grader who he kept on the team for three years even though I did not get to play much. He was the one that really planted the seed for me to pursue teaching and coaching.

The next coaches for me were Norman “Cy” Perkins, who coached the Bangor JVs in 1952 and coach Fred “Red” Barry. who coached the Bangor High varsity in 1953-55. I learned a lot of basketball in high school and was fortunate to play as a part-time sixth man/starter for the 1955 Maine Class L state champions, who finished third in the New England schoolboy tournament held in the old Boston Garden.

They taught me fundamentals, strategy and the skills of the game.

The only college coach that recruited me was Del Merrill of Husson College. Coach Merrill saw something that I and nobody else saw. Under his guidance and direction from 1955-58, I became the first 1,000 point scorer in Husson basketball history.

Del was the one who put me on the Maine basketball map and for him I have great respect and thanks. He contributed a great deal to me as a future teacher and coach. Del also encouraged me to get involved with basketball officiating, and I did so under his suggestion in 1968 when I joined Board 111.

In 1960 I became a physical education teacher and coach because I wanted to educate those in life lessons and skills that cannot be taught in the classroom.

I also need to thank all the administrators at Fort Fairfield, Orono, Bangor and John Bapst that took chances and hired me to teach, coach or be an athletic director in their systems. They always backed me as a coach and didn’t let parents interfere.

I also have to thank all the parents over the years who were supportive of my rules and regulations. I will use Paul and Mickey Graffam as examples. Their son Ben played for me at Bangor in the mid-1970s. They were not only supportive of me before their son played but were just as interested and supportive after Ben graduated.

I’d like to thank the more than 300 different players who played for me and were the real reason for a successful basketball career. Thanks also to the more than 60 players that went into coaching at some level. That is really my biggest achievement in basketball.

I have to thank all my assistant, JV, freshman and middle school coaches over the years.

I would be remiss if I did not give a big hug and thanks to my brother-in-law, Gerald “Red” Briggs, who assisted me at Orono and Bangor.

Also, a big thanks to John Coombs, the former Bangor YMCA director, who gave me the opportunity to start coaching when I was in college.

I need to thank John Beaulier and George Hale for the opportunity to do radio and TV color commentary for WABI during past basketball tourneys and to BDN sports editor Joe McLaughlin for the opportunity to write blogs and columns.

It would be incomplete if I did not thank my lifelong friend Bob Kelley, the former Bangor High physical education teacher and extremely successful baseball coach. He started teaching/coaching in 1959 and I started in 1960. We both retired in 2000. It was great to discuss coaching with him.

I want to thank my basketball historian, former John Bapst freshman coach and friend, Bob Beatham, for being a basketball sounding board

Finally, the biggest thanks goes to my wife of 53 years, Judy, for all her support and love during this coaching career that has covered many different areas. I have to thank her for putting up with all those late meals and time alone. Without her support and love I could not have made this journey.

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