Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame introduces quartet of new inductees

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Three of the four newest members of the Auburn Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame that will be inducted in a May 6 ceremony at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston, got together at Gippers in Auburn Friday afternoon for a luncheon officially announcing the inductees. They are from left to right, Ray DeBlois, Carolyn Court and Jim Hood. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

AUBURN — Carolyn Court has attended many an Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame Induction to support, and sometimes introduce, Bates College and Lewiston High School athletes that she’s mentored in 30 years of coaching in the area.

Still actively coaching as an assistant with Lewiston’s outdoor and indoor track and field programs, Court didn’t expect she would be an honoree until she had stopped coaching.

“That’s the part that surprised me because I still am an active coach and most other people (inducted into the Hall) aren’t still active,” she said. “It’s definitely quite an honor.”

Court, Alan “Pete” Couture, Raymond J. DeBlois and William “Jimmy” Hood were introduced as the newest inductees to the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame at a luncheon at Gipper’s Sports Grill on Friday. They will be officially inducted at the Hall’s 35th annual banquet, which is May 6 at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston.

In 25 years as Bates’ women’s track coach, Court guided 15 All-American athletes, had two teams qualify for the NCAA Division 3 championships and was named New England Division 3 Coach of the Year in 1995.

After retiring from Bates in 2005, she helped coach the Auburn Running Club, and has volunteered as a coach for the Lewiston Rec Department, Lewiston Middle School and Lewiston High School.

Court starred in high school track in her home state of Connecticut, then became an All-American in track at Southern Connecticut State in 1974. Her daughter, Nicole, later became an All-American racewalker at Dakota Wesleyan.

Court said she was honored to join the growing list of female athletes honored by the Hall, and glad she didn’t have to wait until she was done coaching to do so.

“I’ve been coaching in this area for 30 years and I can’t imagine a day where I’m not coaching or looking forward to a season,” Court said.

DeBlois, of Lewiston, was a four-year varsity player and standout on two state champion hockey teams at St. Dom’s, in 1986 and 1988. After graduating in 1988, he enrolled at Plattsburgh State in New York, where he played three times in the Frozen Four and won a Division 3 national championship in 1992.

DeBlois returned to Lewiston to coach youth hockey and founded a successful lighting business with his brother, Mitch.

Like most who receive the call to the Hall, DeBlois couldn’t help but reflect on his hockey career when he heard the news.

“When I hung up I started thinking about when I started hockey in mites all the way up to college when I finished,” he said. “The big highlight is winning the national title in college and two state championships at St. Dom’s.”

Hood, of Lewiston, played three sports at Lewiston High School and was named to the all-state football team in 1973. Upon graduation in 1974, he enrolled at the University of Maine, where he was a four-year starter at fullback.

He returned to Lewiston after graduating from Maine in 1979 to teach physical education and coach football at Lewiston, Edward Little and Bates, as well as girls’ basketball at several area schools.

Serving as a mentor, motivator and inspiration to many young athletes over a 28-year career, Hood often got the chance to watch many of his athletes start and finish their scholastic athletic careers.

“I was in a unique situation where I was teaching elementary kids and then I would end up catching a couple of them coaching (in high school),” Hood said. “You see the big picture that way.”

Couture, who lives in Florida and missed Friday’s luncheon but plans to attend the banquet, was a bowling prodigy, winning the Twin City Candelpin championship at age 16. A 1963 Edward Little graduate, he switched to ten-pin bowling and became one of the top players on the PBA Tour, earning five titles and making regular appearances on national televised events over a 24-year span. He won the USBC Senior Masters title in 1998 and 2002, and has been inducted into five bowling halls of fame.

In addition to the inductees, the Hall will honor a number of other local athletes and teams:

  • The “Flashback to Fame Award” will celebrate the 1968 Lewiston High School boys’ hockey state championship on its 50th anniversary.
  • The Earl B. Austin Award will be presented to the memory of Michael Giroux for his work in support of local youth sports.
  • The Pioneer Award will recognize the late Mary Kendall and her lifetime achievements in multiple sports, including tennis, skiing and equestrian.

The following high school coaches and high school and college athletes will receive the Chamber of Commerce President’s awards for outstanding achievements over the past year:

  • Coaches — Mike Adams, Jamie Belleau, Chris Cifelli, Brian Kay, Jennifer Brown and Mike McGraw.
  • College seniors — Marley Byrne, Mary Caron and Lauren Lessard.
  • High school seniors — Ryan Bossie, Taylor Chamberlain, Markella Gammaitoni, Caroline Gastonguay, Grant Hartley, Maddie Leblond, Grace McBride, Tyler Morin, Piper Norcross, Stephanie Rodrigue, Alex Thompson and Hannah Trottier-Braun.

Tickets to the banquet are available at the LA Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in Lewiston or online at www.lametrochamber.com.

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