Legends speak at EHS Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony

first_img Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) Bio Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Latest Postscenter_img Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at mmandell@ellsworthamerican.com. ELLSWORTH — Down the hall from the trophies at the school’s entrance and the many championship banners that adorn the gymnasium, Ellsworth High School celebrated the people who played big parts in earning those honors.Ellsworth, a small community in comparison to some of the others throughout Maine and the rest of New England, has added many of those trophies and banners over the years. Yet despite its smaller size, the city’s high school has produced athletes and coaches who have given some of the best in the state and nation a run for their money.Eleven people were inducted as members of the EHS Sports Hall of Fame’s 2017 class Saturday in the school’s auditorium. From coaches who paced the gymnasium over 50 years ago to athletes who produced memorable moments less than two decades ago, years of the city’s sports history were brought together.“For such a small town, it’s pretty remarkable how much athletic success Ellsworth has had over the years,” inductee Louie Luchini said. “I remember growing up watching some of the people being honored here today.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textAmong the inductees were former players John Edes, Jack Scott and head coach Charlie Katsiaficas, three of the architects of Ellsworth’s historic boys’ basketball seasons in 1953 and 1954. In the latter of those seasons, Ellsworth, which had an enrollment of 295 students, took 3,000-student Connecticut power Hillhouse High School down to the wire in the New England regional semifinals.Katsiaficas, the team’s coach during those years, passed away in 2009, but Edes and Scott were in attendance to detail some of their fondest memories about those legendary teams. Although the Eagles were dominant when Edes and Scott were juniors and seniors, their journey there wouldn’t have happened without such an inspiring head coach.“We won three games [my first year], and then along comes Mr. Katsiaficas,” a teary-eyed Edes recalled. “What a wake-up call that was.”Brian Higgins, a member of the EHS Sports Hall of Fame’s 2017 class, hoists a plaque commemorating his 500th win Sept. 28, 2011, in Ellsworth. Higgins was the winningest coach in Maine high school soccer history with 566 wins. FILE PHOTOStuart Taylor, who coached the boys’ team to state championships in 1964 and 1966, also was inducted. So was Brian Higgins, who became the winningest coach in the history of Maine high school soccer during his 42-year coaching Ellsworth’s boys’ team.It was Taylor who first asked Higgins if he could coach soccer prior to the 1974 season. Higgins had never coached soccer before and had only taken one class on the sport at Springfield College, but as Sue Shaw, Higgins’ introductory speaker said, it was a match that was meant to be.“He studied, he researched, he took advice and he learned, and he passed all that he knew on to his teams,” said Shaw, who taught with Higgins for 28 years. “He also created soccer camps along the way that were building blocks for the program.”Higgins also took over the tennis program in 1981. As was the case with soccer, the school’s tennis program needed a boost when Higgins took the reins, and he gave it one by leading the Eagles to a boys’ state title and 14 regional championships overall in 37 years and counting as the team’s coach.“When he started at Ellsworth, there weren’t even any tennis courts,” Shaw said. “The games and practices were played on private courts with generous owners for over 15 years.”Former Ellsworth track and cross-country runner Jamie Dunn speaks during the EHS Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony Oct. 14 in Ellsworth. Dunn, who now lives in southern Maine with her husband and four children, graduated from the school in 1980. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLOther inductees detailed specific experiences that brought them back to their younger days. For Luchini, Ellsworth’s most decorated cross-country and track runner, it was taking a recruiting visit to Stanford University as a temporary reprieve during the Maine winter. For Jamie Dunn, one of the team’s top runners in the 1970s, it was using the Mill Mall for training.“I don’t know who owned [the Mill Mall] at the time, but it wasn’t a bustling place like it is today; it was empty,” Dunn said. “They would let us go in there to run and use it as a field house.”Also inducted were brothers Dick and Tim Scott, outdoor track record holder Rob Pendergist and two-sport star Becky Lock, athletes who defined Ellsworth’s sporting successes in the 1980s and 1990s. Like the athletes and coaches before and after them, they and everyone inducted were, as multiple speakers put it, “legends in their own time.”“Every great athlete is only as great as the people around them,” Luchini said. “We’ve been so lucky to be around the people we’ve met at the Ellsworth schools and in the community.” MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020last_img

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