University of Maine at Farmington men's basketball coach Dick Meader (center) talks to his players during a timeout during a home game this season at Dearborn Gymnasium. Meader will be honored in April in Atlanta with the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division III Outstanding Service Award. Credit: Courtesy of Jeff Lamb Photography

Dick Meader’s dedication to building basketball in his home state has landed the University of Maine at Farmington men’s basketball coach a major award from his coaching brethren.

Meader will be presented with the Division III Outstanding Service Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches on April 3 during the NCAA Division I Men’s Final Four in Atlanta.

The award recognizes those who have contributed significantly “inside and outside the lines” of coaching as distinguished members of their communities.

Meader grew up in the western Maine town of Solon and was one of 16 students in his high school class. He played basketball and baseball at Farmington State Teachers College, now the University of Maine at Farmington.

After earning an undergraduate degree in secondary education, he earned a master’s degree at the University of Maine.

Meader has remained in the Pine Tree State throughout his coaching career, first as head basketball coach at Thomas College in Waterville for 17 years and for the last 27 years in the same capacity at University of Maine at Farmington.

Meader, who also coached basketball at UMF from 1993 to 2010, earned his 500th coaching victory on Jan. 20 when UMF defeated Northern Vermont-Lyndon.

“I really didn’t think much about the 500th win,” said Meader, who on Thursday was recognized as the 2020 North Athletic Conference coach of the year. “We have a good group this year with five seniors and our team has played very well.

“I think of myself as a teacher and always carried larger rosters than most to provide opportunities. As a state institution, we recruit almost exclusively from Maine and have been fortunate to have players who worked very hard.”

Meader has guided this year’s team to a 21-4 record, including a 13-1 NAC mark good for the top seed and the host’s role for the conference tournament, which continues Friday with the semifinals at Dearborn Gymnasium.

Farmington plays No. 5 UMaine-Presque Isle at 5:30 p.m., followed at 7:30 by No. 2 SUNY Canton against No. 3 Husson University of Bangor. The semifinal winners will play at 2 p.m. Saturday for the NAC championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Meader also was co-owner with Dick Whitmore of the highly successful Pine Tree Basketball Clinic held at Colby College in Waterville. Whitmore, the retired Colby men’s basketball coach, who won the same NABC award in 2012.

The summer camp opened in 1973 and ended its 38-year run in 2011, having served some 50,000 campers.

“The camp was a place for Maine kids to learn and play the game of basketball,” Meader said.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...