The Maine Sports Legends will hold its annual Hall of Honors ceremony Sunday at the Alfond Youth Center in Waterville, with nine new inductees and eight student-athletes to be recognized.
Those being inducted are Philip Faulkner of Island Falls, Keith Hayward of Presque Isle, the late Howard Lello of Limestone and Presque Isle, Allan Snell of Orrington, Phil Mateja of Orono, Joseph Jabar of Waterville, Don Roberts of Augusta, and Richard Sturgeon and Joseph Russo, both of Portland.
Faulkner is a longtime athlete, educator, administrator, coach, official and community leader. He played basketball and baseball while in college and also played semi-pro baseball in Canada. Faulkner went on to become a physical education teacher and served as a northern Maine athletic director for 40 years while coaching basketball, soccer, volleyball, golf and baseball. Faulkner’s basketball teams at Island Falls and Katahdin of Stacyville have amassed more than 300 varsity victories, and he’s still on the sidelines as a volunteer assistant basketball coach under Bill McAvoy at Southern Aroostook Community School in Dyer Brook.
Hayward has been an athlete, umpire, community leader and director of the Presque Isle Recreation and Parks Department. He was the state’s first northern district ASA softball commissioner and umpired both baseball and softball. Hayward went on to lead the Presque Isle Recreation and Parks Department for 34 years, guiding that program through the development of numerous recreational facilities in the Star City.
Lello was an athlete, coach, community leader, volunteer, philanthropist and avid supporter of the youth of Limestone. He organized Little League teams for Limestone and Caswell and coached for 21 years, and also was a longtime volunteer track official at Aroostook County meets. The “Howard Lello Award” is presented annually to the female athlete who scores the most points at the County championship meet. Lello and his wife Zeta left an endowment to Limestone Community School athletic programs, and the school’s baseball field is now known as the “Howard and Zeta Lello Memorial Field.”
Snell is a veteran school administrator who began a long career in athletics as a multi-sport athlete at Madison High School and later as his alma mater’s head football coach from 1967 to 1970. He went onto be a founding father of Brewer Youth Football and also was manager of the Brewer Falcons American Legion baseball club for more than a decade. Snell joined the staff of the Eastern Maine basketball tournament in 1977 and today serves as the North tourney’s co-director. He also has been an active football official since 1981 and is a member of the Bangor chapter of the Maine Association of Football Officials as well as a liaison to the Maine Principals’ Association football committee.
Mateja began his career as an athletic trainer while still a student at Warren Township High School in Gurnee, Illinois. He went on to serve as a student trainer while at the University of Missouri and later spent 13 years at the University of Maine. Mateja also works as the trainer at the North region basketball tournaments in Bangor, providing coverage for more than 40 postseason games each winter. He has served as athletic trainer at Brewer High School and works in the same capacity at Hampden Academy, where he also teaches life skills in the special education department.
Jabar is an associate justice of the Maine Supreme Court, and also boasts a considerable athletic resume. He was captain of the football team and co-captain of the basketball and baseball teams at Waterville High School who earned all-state honors in football. He went on to co-captain the basketball and baseball teams at Colby College, where he recently had his baseball jersey retired. Jabar played baseball in the Cape Cod League for three summers and was a two-time MVP who subsequently was named to the league’s hall of fame. After graduating from Colby he signed with the Seattle Pilots (now Milwaukee Brewers) and played one season of minor-league baseball before returning to Maine to complete his studies. While in law school Jabar coached basketball at Andover Institute as well as the freshman team at the University of Southern Maine. He was co-founder of Waterville’s PAL football program and also coached Little League and youth league baseball and basketball in the Elm City.
Roberts began his broadcasting career at age 19, airing high school and college games that included the New England schoolboy basketball championships at the Boston Garden. Roberts was elected president of the Auburn City Council at age 21, and upon taking a job at WFAU in Augusta initiated radio coverage of Little League baseball in Maine. Named Maine Sportscaster of the Year in 1962-1963, Roberts became sports director at WIMA-TV in Lima, Ohio, where his beats included Ohio State football, the Cleveland Indians and Browns, and the Indianapolis 500. He returned to Maine and created WABK radio before becoming owner of WRDO, also in Augusta. For 25 years he was known as “Voice of the Cony Rams.”
Russo played basketball and baseball at Portland High School and basketball at the University of Maine at Presque Isle before beginning a distinguished coaching career. He spent three years at his first varsity job at Bonny Eagle High School of Standish before returning to his alma mater in 1990. In his 27 years at Portland, Russo has amassed more than 400 wins as the Bulldogs have won five state championships and seven regional titles.
Sturgeon starred in basketball at Old Town High School and the University of Maine where he earned All-Yankee Conference honors in 1959, but when injury ended the next season prematurely his coaching career began with the Black Bears’ freshman team. He went on to coach at Madison and Cony high schools before moving to the University of Southern Maine, where he coached basketball for 11 years and baseball for 10 years. He has been inducted into both the University of Maine and USM athletic halls of fame.
Students to be honored during the Hall of Honors ceremony are Jessica Drew of Hodgdon High School, Jacob Flewelling of Easton High School, Hannah Farrar of Dexter Regional High School, Joshua Palmeter of Bangor Christian School, Delaney Keithley of Cony High School in Augusta, Jacob Hickey of Winthrop High School, Ana Neff-Jenasko of Maine Girls Academy in Portland and Matthew Strout of Oak Hill High School in Wales. Each will receive funds to be used in connection with her or his college education.
The buffet awards banquet will begin at 1:30 p.m. following a social gathering at 1 p.m. Tickets, at tables of eight, are $40 each.
Tickets must be purchased by Wednesday and may be obtained using a credit card by calling the Alfond Youth Center at 873-0684 or by email to PaulMcClay@msn.com.