The Maine Sports Hall of Fame will induct five men and four women in its 45th induction ceremony Sept. 20 at Merrill Auditorium in Portland.
By percentage, it is the largest class of women inducted by the organization that was established in 1972. Five women were among the 12 inductees in 2016. “I’m thinking this is one of the most diverse groups we’ve had in terms of a variety of sports,” said new President Brian Corcoran, CEO and founder of Shamrock Sports & Entertainment. “I’m really pleased with the number of women.”
The inductees, in alphabetical order:
Amy (Corbett) Bernatchez was a three-sport star at Messalonskee High School in Oakland, playing on teams that won state championships in field hockey and basketball. Bernatchez played two seasons of field hockey at Springfield College before transferring to the University of Maine, where she was a Regional All-American. The Hall of Fame Black Bear who made the 1990 U.S. National Team went on to coach at Messalonskee and Cony, winning three state championships. She also coached seven seasons at Colby College. With husband Brian, Bernatchez founded the Maine Majestix Field Hockey Club, its teams competed in numerous regional and national competitions. She has coached more than 100 college players, including more than 30 Division I student-athletes.
Cathy (Narsiff) Caron competed in cross-country, track and field, and ice hockey at Biddeford High School, and was the starting goalie on the boys’ ice hockey team. She also was the state champion in the discus. At Berwick Academy, she started in goal and was MVP on the men’s hockey team, as well as captain and MVP of the soccer team, and goalie and MVP of the lacrosse team. Caron was a four-year starting goalie on the University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey squad, setting records for shutouts and fewest goals against. She was CMM Player of the Year, given to the nation’s best female player. She also was a three-time All-America goalie in lacrosse. Caron was a member of the USA Women’s Lacrosse Team which competed at the 1989 World Cup. She is in the UNH Hall of Fame.
Karate champion Tony Fournier is Maine’s foremost name in the sport. He won several national karate championships fighting, in forms, and on teams. His first national championship came in 1980 when he won the heavyweight title. Fournier also won forms. A year later, he was on the national championship team in forms and qualified for the U.S. National Team. Fournier was on that team for seven years and earned silver medals in national and European championships. Fournier grew up in the family that owns Portland’s iconic Tony’s Donuts and he owns Fournier’s Leadership Karate.
Ninety-one-year-old Merle Hallett is a champion 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 our own Monhegan Race, which he has competed in more than 30 times. Hallett also 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 long-time owner of Handy Boat and the Galley Restaurant.
Lisa Kuronya Coombs took up boxing for exercise. Soon, her goal was to compete in 10 matches. Now, she has a world championship and five national titles, as well as numerous regional and state crowns. Coombs’ greatest contribution to sport may have come in front of a different kind of judge. In 2007, 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 Marty 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 at Rumford 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. He later earned his MBA at the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), before beginning a successful business career. Milligan was a founder of Carrabassett Spring Water and president of Global Sports Connection, which identifies athletes worldwide who want to continue their careers at U.S. colleges.
Don Richards amassed an amazing dual-meet record of 903-88-5 in his 41 seasons as a head swim coach. In 30 years at Cape Elizabeth High School, his teams went 727-86-3 in dual meets and captured 20 Southwestern Championships and 11 state titles. The Capers also were state runners-up 15 times. Richards coached Tampa Preparatory School to a 176-12-2 record and won three regional championships in Florida. Along the way, he guided 68 Academic All-Americans and 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.
Master Maine Guide Carroll Ware is perhaps Maine’s preeminent fly fisherman, having 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, also a Master Guide, have run Fins and Furs Adventures for 32 years. They lead trips in Maine, Quebec and Chile, looking for world-class fishing experiences. The great promoters of the state run several Maine Guide Training Schools each year which prepare students for careers in the outdoors.
Lindsay Whipple Kallas is one of the greatest tennis players Maine has ever produced. She lost a match in a state semifinal her first year at Falmouth High School and won her other 80 matches. She captured three straight state singles championships and led Falmouth to its first team title in 1983. Kallas was MVP three times, All-State and All America. At Bowdoin College, she was an All-American, playing No. 1 and earning the state singles and doubles championships as a first-year. She led the Polar Bears to a state title as well. Kallas became the first Bowdoin student-athlete to compete in the NCAA National Tournament. She transferred to the College of William & Mary and led the squad to No. 1 in the East and into the top 25 nationally. Kallas won two conference titles and was twice an All-Colonial Athletic Association selection. After college, she played professionally. She’s currently rated at a high level, 5.0 in Women’s Singles.
Dick Whitmore, longtime chairman of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, is proud to announce that legendary broadcaster Bill Green will replace retiring MSHOF Executive Director Mary Mitchell Friedman and that Brian Corcoran, CEO of Shamrock Sports & Entertainment, will replace Whitmore as chairman of the Board, effective Dec. 31.Read more
The Maine Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted its Class of 2019 on May 19that Portland’s Merrill Auditorium before an appreciative audience of several hundred. Tom Austin, Andy Bedard, Pat Gallant-Charette, Eric Fenton, Sam Ladd, Wally Lafountain, Jess Leclerc, Steve Martin, Wes McCauley, Kevin Rand, Nancy Storey, and Tim Wilson gave acceptance speeches which were inspirational, humorous, thought-provoking and heartfelt demonstrating how each Inductee discovered and excelled in their chosen paths and, in the process, made "A Better Maine Through Sport!"Read more
The MSHOF is proud to award the following outstanding student athletes with $5000 scholarship awards at our 44th Annual Induction and Awards Ceremony on May 19th at Merrill Auditorium in Portland. For info and tickets visit www.mshof.com/induction.
Maine Sports Hall of Fame
P.O. Box 2
Cumberland, ME 04021
Phone (207) 807-7666
The Maine Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1972 for the purpose of: 1) appointing and bestowing recognition awards and scholarships to outstanding Maine high school scholar-athletes; and, 2) to formally honor and memorialize Maine athletes and sports figures who have brought distinction and honor to the state of Maine.