An eclectic mix of athletes and sports personalities whose areas of expertise ranged from the harness racing track to the gymnastics mat and from the basketball court to the football field comprise the Maine Sports Hall of Fame’s 43rd induction class.
The 13 honorees announced Thursday include Patrick Dempsey, the actor-sportsman-philanthropist and founder of the Dempsey Challenge; Bobby Wilder, the former University of Maine quarterback and assistant football coach who has been head football coach at Old Dominion University for the last decade; and Carl Nelson, a two-time U.S. Olympic head trainer.
Others set for induction are harness racing driver Jason Bartlett, ski resort impresario Dana Bullen, USA Hockey general manager Reagan Carey, Aroostook County broadcasting icon Dewey DeWitt, mountain biker Tammy Jacques, former NBA referee Bob McAllister, longtime college basketball coach Dick Meader, celebrated Lewiston High school tennis coach Anita Murphy, legendary Bangor High School three-sport athlete Leroy Patterson and gymnastics standout Kristen Kenoyer Woodland.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. June 3 at the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine in Orono. Tickets will be on sale for $25 each at www.mshof.com starting Jan. 15 or via mail at MSHOF, P.O. Box 2619, South Portland, ME 04116.
“This is another exceptional class,” said Dick Whitmore, chairman of the board for the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, in a news release. “The credentials of the inductees illustrate a distinctive array of achievement and exemplify the motto of our organization — A Better Maine Through Sport.”
Bartlett has has driven harness horses to more than 7,000 races, represented the United States in world championship events and is ranked among the top three drivers in America. Only 37, he already has accumulated more than $87 million in career purses.
Bullen, president of Sunday River Ski Area for more than a decade, has developed and utilized programs hastening the growth of the ski industry in the state. His work with Sunday River and Black and Titcomb mountains, and his leadership in creating the Outdoor Recreation Business Administration major at his alma mater — the University of Maine at Farmington — exemplify his passion for Maine skiing.
Carey, granddaughter of the late Maine ski legend Wendall “Chummy” Broomhall, starred in hockey at Colby College and now is general manager of USA Hockey and manages the U.S. Women’s National Team preparing for the 2018 Olympic Games. In 2015 she launched the USA Hockey U18 Select Women’s National Camp, which annually brings the nation’s top 66 female players to the University of New England in Biddeford.
Dempsey, a Maine native who has achieved success in both the film/TV industry and in auto racing, has given back to his home state by creating the Dempsey Challenge, an annual event based in Lewiston that has raised millions of dollars to fight cancer in Maine.
DeWitt was the voice of Aroostook County and northern Maine sports for six decades. DeWitt has broadcast events at every level of sport, promoted the same on radio and TV, and was the first announcer of the big radio and television sport events in Maine.
Jacques reached the pinnacle of her sport during the 1990s, capped with an Olympic alternate position on the 1996 USA Mountain Biking Team. She had great success both on the USA cycling team and the USA mountain biking team, finishing with 20 top-five World Cup medals and eight top-three finishes.
McAllister, a Bangor native and John Bapst Memorial High School graduate, was an all-state basketball player who eventually moved west to become one of the top basketball officials nationally in the high school and college ranks. He ultimately reached the pinnacle of his chosen career by becoming Maine’s only NBA official.
Meader was considered the greatest player from his area at Solon High School and one of the all-time best at the University of Maine at Farmington before beginning a four-decade college coaching career, first at Thomas College in Waterville and then at UMF where he has accumulated more than 400 victories. He also was a founder and director of the Pine Tree Basketball Clinic, serving more than 50,000 Maine basketball players over four decades.
Murphy has coached Lewiston High School tennis teams to 10 state championships and was named National Girls’ Tennis Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2011. Murphy also was the architect of Lewiston’s recreation tennis program that has fueled the city’s success in the sport at the high school level.
Nelson pioneered sports medicine in central Maine as Colby College’s head trainer for four decades and served as U.S. head trainer for the 1972 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria. He also was director of the Pine Tree Camp for children with physical disabilities for more than 30 years.
Patterson was considered one of the state’s best athletes of his generation at Bangor High School. Patterson was a two-time All-Maine and All-America football player who went on to be a scholarship player at the University of Cincinnati. In basketball, he led Bangor to the 1962 Eastern Maine championship and twice was named All-Maine by the Bangor Daily News. In baseball, Patterson was an outfielder with power who attracted professional scouts.
Wilder was an All-Maine basketball and football player in his native Madison before attending the University of Maine, where he started at quarterback as a sophomore and led the 1986 team to the Yankee Conference championship. He graduated as the program’s all-time leading passer. After serving as a UMaine assistant for 17 years, Wilder was named Old Dominion’s first head football coach in 2007 and has built a program from scratch to earning a FBS bowl berth in 2016.
Kenoyer Woodall, a Whitefield native, starred in gymnastics at Cony High School in Augusta and trained in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with a famed national program called the Parkettes. She went on to earn 14 first-team All-America honors at the University of Utah and helped the Utes win the 1992 NCAA vault championship before continuing her career at the national and international levels.
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This story was updated at 10:55 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 12, to correct the name of Maine Sports Hall of Fame inductee Kristen Kenoyer Woodland.