The Maine Sports Hall of Fame’s membership will increase by nine in September when it inducts a class made up of 44 percent women.
Field hockey fixture Amy Corbett Bernatchez is among those who will be honored during the MSHoF’s 45th induction ceremony on Sept. 20 at Merrill Auditorium in Portland.
By percentage, it is the largest class of women inducted by the organization, which was established in 1972. There were five women among 12 inductees in the 2016 class.
“I’m thinking this is one of the most diverse groups we’ve had in terms of a variety of sports,” new President Brian Corcoran said.
Bernatchez, Cathy (Narsiff) Caron, Tony Fournier, Merle Hallett, Lisa Kuronya Coombs, Marty Milligan, Don Richards, Carroll Ware and Lindsay Whipple Kallas bring diverse talents and experiences to the hall.
Bernatchez was a three-sport star at Messalonskee High School in Oakland, where she won state championships in field hockey and basketball. She played two seasons of field hockey at Springfield College then transferred to the University of Maine, where she was a Regional All-American.
The UMaine Sports Hall of Famer made the 1990 U.S. National Team then coached at Messalonskee and Cony, winning three state titles. She also coached seven seasons at Colby College. Bernatche and husband Brian founded the Maine Majestix Field Hockey Club, which has helped groom more than 100 college players, including more than 30 Division I student-athletes.
Ware, a Master Maine Guide, has set 52 world fishing records, according to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. His catches include several species, on various weight lines and tippets. He and his wife, Lila, have run Fins and Furs Adventures for 32 years and lead trips in Maine, Quebec and Chile for world-class fishing experiences.
Caron competed in cross-country, track and field and ice hockey and was state discus champion at Biddeford High School, where she was the starting goalie on the boys hockey team. At Berwick Academy, she was MVP of the men’s hockey team and the girls soccer and lacrosse squads.
Caron was a four-year starting women’s hockey goalie at the University of New Hampshire and set records for shutouts and fewest goals allowed. She was named CMM Player of the Year, given to the nation’s best female player. She also was a three-time All-America goalie in lacrosse and played for the USA Women’s Lacrosse Team that competed at the 1989 World Cup.
Fournier won several national karate championships fighting, in forms and on teams. His first national championship came in 1980 when he won the heavyweight title and forms. A year later, he was on the national championship team in forms and qualified for the U.S. National Team. The seven-time national team member earned silver medals in national and European championships. He owns Fournier’s Leadership Karate.
Hallett, 91, is a sailor who has raced and won all over the world, including the Ensign Nationals. He won his class at a number of prestigious events, including the Bermuda Races, Block Island Race Week and Maine’s Monhegan Race, which he has competed in more than 30 times.
Hallett founded the Gulf of Maine Ocean Racing Association and co-founded the MS Regatta, which has raised more than $3 million for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He was the longtime owner of Handy Boat and the Galley Restaurant.
Kuronya Coombs took up boxing for exercise. Now, she has a world championship and five national titles, as well as numerous regional and state crowns. In 2007, Coombs won another decision when she and the Portland Boxing Club filed suit against USA Boxing, alleging discrimination against women at the national level. USA Boxing settled the suit and agreed to provide expenses and accommodations for women that are equal to men at national events.
Rumford’s Milligan won both the Fitzpatrick Trophy as the state’s top high school football player and the Vinal Trophy as the MVP of the Western Maine High School Basketball Tournament. The two-way starter played quarterback and linebacker and was top 10 in his class. He turned down 30 full scholarships at schools such as Syracuse and Wake Forest and was a three-year starter at defensive end at Dartmouth College.
Milligan, who earned his MBA at Northwestern University, was a founder of Carrabassett Spring Water and president of Global Sports Connection, which identifies athletes who want to continue their careers at U.S. colleges.
Richards amassed a dual-meet record of 903-88-5 in his 41 seasons as a high school head swim coach. In 30 years at Cape Elizabeth, his teams went 727-86-3 in dual meets and captured 20 regional championships and 11 state titles. The Capers also were state runners-up 15 times. He guided 15 Swimming/Diving All-Americans.
In 1990, Richards was featured in Sports Illustrated and in 1991 the Cape Elizabeth swimming pool was named the Donald L. Richards Community Pool in his honor.
Whipple Kallas is one of Maine’s greatest tennis players. She lost a match in a state semifinal her freshman year at Falmouth High School and won her other 80 matches. She captured three straight state singles titles and led Falmouth to its first team crown in 1983. She earned All-State and All-America accolades.
Whipple Kallas was an All-American at Bowdoin College, playing No. 1 singles and earning the state singles and doubles championships as a freshman. She became the first Bowdoin athlete to compete in an NCAA national tournament, then transferred to William & Mary, where she was No. 1 on a top-25 squad. She won two conference titles and was twice an All-Colonial Athletic Association selection. She later played professionally.