Ted Heroux’s introduction to competitive wrestling was unique.
“I was in college and my roommates were both two-time state champions in high school,” he said. “They put all the mattresses in the room together and told me, ‘You’re going to be a wrestler.’”
From that indoctrination Heroux grew to love the sport, and he has been teaching it to youngsters in his hometown of Belfast virtually ever since, leading Belfast Area High School to more than 600 victories and eight state championships over a 45-year coaching career.
It’s a resume that has earned Heroux induction into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame.
The 69-year-old Heroux, a 1961 Belfast graduate who has been the head wrestling coach at his alma mater since 1967, was one of four coaches inducted last Saturday before the finals of the New England high school wrestling championships in Providence, R.I.
Also inducted were longtime East Hartford, Conn., coach Steve Konopka, longtime Massachusetts coach and referee Ted Neill, and former four-time Rhode Island state wrestling champion and coach Steve Soares.
“When they told me about it I said, ‘Really?’ That usually doesn’t happen until after you kick the bucket,” said Heroux. “But afterward when I realized they’ve had this hall of fame for 30 years and have only inducted 40 people, I realized what an honor it is. I was pretty happy after that.”
Heroux has guided the Belfast wrestling program to a 602-168-3 record, a career that has included not only eight Class B state championships but also six state runner-up finishes, 11 Eastern Maine Class B titles and 13 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships.
Previously inducted into the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame, Heroux is a five-time KVAC coach of the year and a three-time Maine coach of the year honoree.
He has coached three New England champions — his grandson Kote Aldus, Dennis Sprague and Brent Waterman. Sprague won the 132-pound state title in 1972, Aldus the 160-pound crown in 2008 and Waterman the 132-pound championship this year.
Heroux also has coached 71 individual state champions from Belfast, including another grandson, Kornealius Wood, who won the 171-pound Class B title in both 2009 and 2011.
Heroux becomes the third Mainer named to the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame, joining longtime former University of Southern Maine coach Ted Reese and former Winslow coach Wally LaFountain, one of the founders of the Maine-Nebraska Friendship Series.
Heroux said he plans to coach at Belfast for one more season before retiring.
“I’ve got a good group of seniors coming next year that I kind of promised their parents I’d see them through because I’ve been coaching them for about the last seven years,” he said.
“I’ve also got a great group of assistant coaches probably chomping at the bit to get their chance, and whoever does take over is going to be successful because we’ve got a great wrestling program here in Belfast all the way up through.”
Jim Hersom named to GNG post
Jim Hersom is the new head football coach at Gray-New Gloucester.
Hersom, the twin brother of Lawrence of Fairfield coach John Hersom, most recently was an assistant coach at Leavitt of Turner Center, where his son Jordan led the Hornets to three straight Eastern Maine Class B championships and one state title and earlier this year won the Fitzpatrick Trophy.
Hersom’s previous coaching stops included Livermore Falls and Edward Little of Auburn. He was head coach at Livermore Falls for 12 years, winning Western C titles in 1990 and 1992, and coached at Edward Little for seven years, guiding the Red Eddies to the 2002 Pine Tree Conference Class A championship.
Hersom replaces Phil Prideaux at Gray-New Gloucester, which competes in Western Maine Class B. Prideaux had coached the Patriots for the last two years, including a 1-7 record in 2011.
Stoneton to lead Lobster Bowl West squad
Joel Stoneton of Winthrop High School will serve as the West head coach for the 23rd annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic all-star football game to be held at historic Waterhouse Field in Biddeford at 4 p.m. July 21.
Stoneton has been the Ramblers’ head coach since 2002, winning two Campbell Conference championships and one Western Maine Class C title in 2008. Stoneton was named the Campbell Conference Coach of the Year in both 2007 and 2008.
As a high school senior, Stoneton played in the 1993 Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic as a tight end for the Western Maine team. While competing at Winthrop High, Stoneton was part of a Campbell Conference championship football team as well as two state championship teams in basketball.
Stoneton was an assistant coach for the West team in the 2009 Lobster Bowl.
Stoneton’s Lobster Bowl coaching staff will consist of offensive coordinator Kevin Cooper of Bonny Eagle of Standish, Mark Bonnevie of Spruce Mountain of Livermore Falls, Stacen Doucette of Lisbon, Tim Roche of Wells, Jim Aylward of Mountain Valley of Rumford, Dave Jones of Fryeburg Academy, Bryan Dionne of Boothbay and Ron Ross of Traip Academy of Kittery.
The previously announced East coaching staff will be led by Dave Hainer, the head coach at Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln for the past four years.
He will be assisted by defensive coordinator Dave Sterling of Edward Little of Auburn, Chris Bartlett of Belfast, Danny White of Foxcroft Academy, Matt Friedman of Madison-Carrabec, Dan O’Connell of John Bapst of Bangor, Bill County of Lewiston, Mike Marston of Skowhegan and Jack Brady of Mount View of Thorndike.