CARIBOU – Gerry Duffy “The Coach,” 77, died March 16, 2007, with his family by his side in Portland, after a valiant and courageous fight against pancreatic cancer. He was born Jan. 21, 1930, in East Millinocket, to James and Genevieve (Surrette) Duffy. His loving and devoted wife, Jean, supported him each and every step of the way for more than two years during his cancer battle and for over 52 years as his wife; she is and will continue to be his most significant and loyal fan. To doctors and nurses he was a medical marvel, who won the daily and weekly battles that cancer brought. To family and friends he never stepped on a court or field without the intent, the heart and the drive to win. Gerry’s battle against this deadly disease was filled with unbelievable bravery, dignity and even humor in the tradition of one of his idols, Hall of Fame basketball coach, Jim Valvano. Like Valvano, he had both a heart of gold and of a tiger; he never, ever gave up and it was fitting that he passed on during March Madness. Gerry is a sports icon, gentle giant and hero to many, simply moving on to coach at the next level. A legend in Maine sports, as one of the best all-around athletes to grace the state, and later a hall of fame coach, Gerry was the consummate sportsman, admired and respected by all athletes, fellow coaches, teachers, officials, parents and fans of Maine and New Brunswick sports. He is loved and remembered by family and friends from around the state of Maine to Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Florida, Utah, Southwest Asia, New Brunswick, Ontario and many other points in Canada. Gerry is best known for coaching the Caribou High School Vikings to the state high school large school championship in 1969, in one of the most exciting and memorable runs to the state championship in Maine basketball history. However, his consistency and vision to the future using innovative styles to match his players’ talent, enabled him to compile a sparkling 373-151 record in 31 years of coaching, for a .712 winning percentage. He made seven trips to the regional finals, winning three Eastern Maine championships and one Gold Ball. He is one of the all-time greats. His baseball feats and records are too many to be listed, but at the age of 42 and batting ahead of his son for the Grand Falls Cataracts in one of his patented, “I can hit anybody moments,” he did by drilling a towering 450-foot home run off a Division 1 college pitcher as he coached and played his final year of semi-pro baseball. Even his baseball idol, Ted Williams, would have said, “Now that was something.” He always delivered when his number was called. During his superb career, a Gerry Duffy-coached team was never taken for granted by opposing coaches, because they never quit until the last out or the last whistle. If any did take him for granted, they still have their own unique memories as they left shaking their heads in disbelief after the game. Gerry graduated Orono High School in 1948 and the Higgins Classical Institute the following year, after turning down an offer to play in the Boston Braves, baseball, farm system. His playing days were delayed by two years, as he enlisted to fight in the Korean War in 1950, earning two Distinguished Service Medals for combat action. After returning in 1952, he traveled north to play semi-pro baseball and basketball in the Maine-New Brunswick leagues, with his prime years in Woodstock, New Brunswick. He met and married his faithful fan and his coach at home, Jean Eleanor Clark of Woodstock, in 1954. He graduated Ricker College and the University of Maine. While at Ricker, he began his coaching career in high school basketball as the varsity coach for Danforth High. He coached at Danforth until 1960, when he took a coaching and teaching position at Sherman High School. After two years, he moved to Limestone High School, where he spent four years. In the fall of 1966, he arrived at Caribou High School and vowed to take a struggling program to the tournament in three years. At the end of the three years, he brought home the state championship. Twenty-one years later, Gerry stepped down as head coach, but was immediately inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1988. As he remembered his career, he was most proud of helping grow young student athletes into outstanding and responsible citizens of their communities. It wasn’t always about the wins, it was about building character and discipline through the desire to win. You can be a winner even if you come out on the short end of the score according to Gerry. Duffy’s players were all winners, even if they didn’t make the tournament or win the big game. Gerry beat cancer, even though he passed away, he and Jean showed us how to work as a team and what love is all about. By doing so, they went far beyond expectations. Gerry was inducted into the New Brunswick Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. He coached soccer and baseball at Caribou High School and also coached the University of Maine – Presque Isle baseball team for four years. His support of athletes and sports was not limited to playing and coaching, as he was an active member of the Basketball Officials Organization, IAABO No. 150, the Northern Maine Board of Soccer Officials, the Northern Maine Board of Approved Umpires, a member of the Maine Coaches Association and the first president of the Caribou Little League. He also served on the Governor’s Council on Sports and Physical Fitness from 1978 to 1982. An avid golfer and member of the Caribou Country Club, Gerry once carding an ace on No. 7, “the right way,” as he told his golfing buddies and especially Roland. Gerry also was a member of the Lister-Knowlton Post No. 9389 VFW, Caribou. He is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years, Jean; and his four children, James of Colorado and Southwest Asia, Lorry Irving of Falmouth, Mike of Hampden and Cathy Cullins of Caribou; two sons-in-law, Mark Irving and Brian Cullins; as well as a daughter-in-law, Vicki (Erickson) Duffy. Gerry is proud of his grandchildren, Lyndsay Irving of Rochester, N.Y., Nichole Irving of Cumberland, R.I., Rebecca Duffy of Colorado Springs, Colo., Heather (Duffy) Wingfield and husband, Josh Wingfield, of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Matt and Molly Cullins of Caribou. Gerry has three wonderful great-grand-children, Kristofer and Jacob Wingfield and Mackenzie (Duffy) Stoltz, of Colorado Springs, Colo. He will never be forgotten by his family, friends or Maine sports fans. Gerry Duffy’s family gives their heart-felt thanks to Dr. Kurt Ebrahim and his professional staff for all their care and support, as well as the nursing staff at Gibson Pavilion, Maine Medical Center. You are the best. Friends may call 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Monday at Mockler Funeral Home, 24 Reservoir St., Caribou. A funeral Mass will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 20, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church with the Very Rev. Jean-Paul Labrie, pastor, offictiating. Spring interment will be at the Northern Maine Veterans’ Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make donations to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Institute, MMC Development Office, 22 Bramhall St., Portland, ME 04102.