Forty-one years as a boys varsity basketball coach, including the last 35 at Boothbay Region High School, have produced 524 victories for I.J. Pinkham.
Pinkham and seven other coaches who recently reached career victory milestones were recognized Saturday by the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches during the Maine McDonald’s East-West Senior All-Star Games at Husson University in Bangor.
Pinkham, a graduate of Milbridge High School and the University of Maine at Farmington, was honored for joining a select list of high school basketball coaches in the state with more than 500 wins, a grouping that includes former Katahdin of Stacyville girls coach Dick Barstow, current Bangor boys coach Roger Reed and former Jonesport-Beals boys coach Ordman Alley.
Pinkham began his coaching career at Buckfield in the 1970-71 season, then moved on to Boothbay in the 1976-77 season, where he has remained since then.
During his tenure at Boothbay, Pinkham has had just four sub.-500 seasons, the most recent in 1992.
He has led the Seahawks to four Western Maine Class C championships as well as the 2001 Class C state championship, and Boothbay has earned a trip to the postseason in each of the last 18 years.
This winter Pinkham guided Boothbay to an 18-4 record and a berth in the Western C final before falling to Dirigo of Dixfield.
Other coaches honored for reaching career win milestones were Dexter boys coach Peter Murray, Medomak Valley of Waldoboro boys coach Nick DePatsy and Valley of Bingham girls coach Gordon Hartwell, each with 200 wins; and John Bapst of Bangor boys coach Rick Sinclair, Winslow boys coach Scott Wood, Dexter girls coach Jody Grant and Livermore Falls girls coach Mark Simpson, each with 100 victories.
Also recognized were coaches of the year for each class in Eastern and Western Maine. Named boys coaches of the year in Eastern Maine were Jim Bessey of Mt. Blue of Farmington (Class A), Wood of Winslow (Class B), Jamie Russell of Penobscot Valley of Howland (Class C) and Vincent MacLean of Jonesport-Beals (Class D).
Boys coaches of the year in Western Maine are Phil Bourassa of Bonny Eagle of Standish (Class A), Adam Smith of Yarmouth (Class B), Mark Thurlow of Telstar of Bethel (Class C) and Anthony Amero of Forest Hills of Jackman (Class D).
Lawrence, York teams receive awards
The Lawrence of Fairfield boys and York girls basketball teams have been named recipients of the inaugural Maine McDonald’s Team of the Year awards.
The award, also sponsored by the Maine Red Claws basketball organization, recognizes one boys varsity team and one girls varsity squad statewide that have made an exceptional impact on Maine high school basketball and in the lives of others through contributions to their community, sportsmanship, team competitiveness and spirit, and commitment to academic excellence.
Seventeen teams were nominated for the awards, which were selected by a committee comprised of representatives from Maine McDonald’s, Maine Red Claws, and the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches.
The Lawrence boys, coached by Mike McGee, has adopted a family at Christmas for each of the last seven years, a project that has grown into a school-wide effort to raise money and shop for gifts for local families in need. Team members also recognize teachers who have affected their lives during the last home game of each season with speeches and a gift from the team.
The York girls, coached by Rick Clark, spearheaded a series of events that raised more than $16,000 for the York Hospital Cancer Center.
The two teams will be recognized at a Red Claws game on Sunday, and also have received $1,000 each for their schools’ basketball programs.