"Master" is a tribute applied to many careers and individuals in the realm of athletics. In the case of Dick Barstow, his admirers may have to update their vocabulary.
Dr. Mark S. Eastman, superintendent of the Oxford Hills School District, has known Barstow since 1981. He offers this assessment:
"1 have known Dick since 1981 when I became Principal of Central Aroostook Junior-Senior High School," said Eastman. "He was teaching and coaching when I arrived. The superintendent told me that Dick was a master teacher, a master coach and an outstanding person.
"The superintendent understated Dick's qualifications. He was all of that and much more. His integrity was sterling and his compassion and caring for his students was extraordinary."
Spanning more than four decades, Barstow's girls' basketball teams have recorded 624 victories, seven Eastern Maine championships, and four Gold Balls at Central Aroostook of Mars Hill and Presque Isle. His teams put together an 84-game winning streak 1962-1968, lost a game then ran off another 28 wins.
He recalls having never missed one of the 865 games his girls' basketball teams have played- or a practice! Barstow was voted coach of the year in Eastern Maine four times, 1983, '84, '89 and '90; Aroostook County's coach of the year in 1984; and in seven seasons, 1982, '84, '85, '88, '89, '90, and '01, was the East-West All-Star coach.
In softball, Barstow coached two Eastern Maine champions at Central Aroostook. His team won a Class C Eastern Maine cross country title at Central Aroostook, and a state championship in field hockey (1976) at Katahdin. His 1991 team at Katahdin in boys' soccer finished second in Eastern Maine.
Barstow's legacy of success in coaching is impressive, but he doesn't take a one-dimensional approach to the responsibility of preparing his players.
"Dick's players' well being always came first in every decision he has made during his career," said Frank Keenan, superintendent of the Easton School Department. "Dick Barstow has been a true steward of girls' sports. He has always guided his teams and his programs in a way that reflects the very best in high school sports. He earned that respect by consistently showing respect to them."
A native of Massachusetts, Barstow graduated from Dexter High School in 1952. After a year at Williston Academy in East Hampton, Ma., he enrolled at Syracuse University, where he was a back-up to "Number 44" Jim Brown in football. He was also first baseman on the Orange baseball team.
Injuries curtailed his collegiate athletic career although he continued to excel in baseball at the semi-pro level for many years.
Loren Ritchie, retired principal at Katahdin High School, has observed Barstow as an athlete, coach and teacher.
"It is not just the record that reflects success of the person but how it was achieved," said Ritchie. "If Dick's relationships with kids are any indicators, he has been not only an outstanding coach but a mentor of considerable significance in a multitude of young lives."
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.