John (Patrick) Davan, who died earlier this year, left an indelible and unique mark on the Maine communities and institutions he served as student athlete, coach, teacher, athletic director and humanitarian in a 70-year span. Born in England of Irish parentage and orphaned at age 8, he came to the United States to live with a aunt in Waltham, MA.
After four years at Coburn Classical Institute where Paddy captained the football and basketball teams, it was more of the same at Colby College up the street in Waterville as a hard-running halfback and sharp infielder.
Davan then began a ten-year tenure at Livermore Falls High School as three-sport coach teaching five classroom subjects.
He coached the Andies to the 1936 state Class B baseball championship and the Western Maine Class B basketball title in 1940.
Finally, a 33-year career at Westbrook High of varied and valuable service. Exempt from military service in WWII via age and a football injury, he coached three sports with other staffers off to war.
Postwar, Paddy settled for basketball and soon built the Blue Blazes into a lasting hoop power. His 1946-47 team paced Western Maine Class A seasonal play and four years later the Bob MacHardy-led Blazes made history as the school's only undefeated boys basketball team in Maine competition rallying past Bangor in the state title game.
Western runner-up stints in' 52 and' 57 followed - and always a high competitive standard. Paddy also served as athletic director throughout his WHS tenure.
For his vast overall contribution, including stewardship of the summer recreation program, the swimming facility at Westbrook Junior High was named the John P. Davan Pool.
The wise-cracking but tender-hearted Anglo-Hibernian earned his highest regard, however, by his tendering to plucky wife Rachel in her odds-beating 20-plusyear battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease, their Spartan-like coping with the loss of two sons and a daughter-in-law, and for visiting friends and perfect strangers in hospitals.
Davan is survived by his wife, Rachel, and granddaughter, Dr. Monique Davan.
Maine Sports Hall of Fame
P.O. Box 2619
South Portland, ME 04116
Phone (207) 272-2178
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.