In 1944, the Waterville High School basketball team, captured the New England Basketball Championship in competition that included champions from all six New England states. It was the first and last time a Maine team was able to accomplish that feat.
Wallace A. Donovan was coach of that Waterville High aggregation of Whiz Kids.
The Sports Hall of Fame Honors and Selection Committee, chaired by Helen Plourd of Rockland, chose Donovan not only for his impressive coaching record but for an outstanding athletic career that reaches back beyond the days he himself performed in a Waterville High uniform. Graduating with the Class of 1926, Donovan had earned 15 "W's", four in football, baseball and track and three in basketball. He captained both the baseball and basketball teams.
Reported by Waterville Sports Historian Ben Toomey to be one of the best punters in New England scholastic ranks, Donovan was a member of the Ellsworth W. Millett coached state championship team of 1925.
A four year foot bailer at Colby College, Wally was named all Maine three times, and the later Walter Camp gave him honorable mention on the 1930 All American Team. He was captain of the Mule freshmen and later the varsity.
As a catcher-outfielder, he was also a .300 hitter in baseball, earning two letters and playing in the summer Coast League while attending Colby. His coaching record has to be classified as phenomenal. His fifteen year record in football was 79 wins, 39 losses and 11 ties. Co-coach with Bob Viollette from 1934 to 1937, he had state champions in 1937 and 1944. His five year mark in baseball was 47 and 19. With 68 straight wins over a three year span in the forties, his twenty-five year basketball record was 358 wins against 159 losses.
In 1937, Wally married the former Runa Roy of Waterville. They have three children, Mrs. Patricia Donovan Byrd, Sandra Jean Stevens and Wallace A. Donovan, Jr.
The gymnasium at Waterville High School has been dedicated to Donovan in recognition of his contributions to the school and the city. He was, for some time, director of the Waterville Municipal, Kiwanis, Pool during summer months.
Wally has always been an avid fisherman and still joins friends in search of a good catch at Moosehead Lake.
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.