AUBURN — History was made and a new trend may have begun Sunday.

A fresh group of inductees to the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame were honored Sunday afternoon at Lost Valley. What made this year’s banquet unique is that it was the first time three women had been inducted at the same time.

“It’s nice to be part of it,” said Val Brown Ackley. “With all the accolades of all three women, it’s nice to see the Hall recognizing female athletes again.”

Ackley, Jane Woodhead Jawor and Anita Murphy joined Norm Gagne as this year’s inductees. The addition of three women nearly doubled the number of females in the hall.

“It’s pretty neat to be a part of this group,” said Ackley. “You’ve got three women that have contributed highly to the community as well as athletically. I think that speaks well of this group of inductees. It wasn’t just about the athletics, it’s about that person and the overall contribution to community and athletics.”

The only other women inductees in the hall are Gail Liberty (1987), Pennie Cummings and Martha White (1988), Julie Parisien (2000) and Gloriane Perrier (2004).


“It’s long overdue,” said Bob Stone, the HOF chairman. “We have some great female athletes in the community. People just need to nominate them.”

Stone said the hall has recently added three females to the organizing committee.

“They know women’s athletics,” said Stone. “We’re mixing it up right now and really getting some gender equity because they deserve it.”

Murphy, Jawor and Ackley began their athletic success in a world in which female athletes weren’t as prevalent. They bucked that trend and continue to forge a path for future women athletes.

“It took a little bit of time, but I think we’ll see more women in the hall,” said Jawor. “There’s certainly great athletes in this town.”

Jawor’s induction came about  because Murphy provided her an application form and suggested she fill it out.


“I felt that she deserved to be in the hall,” said Murphy, holding a bouquet of flowers given to her by her player Kirsty Beauschene. “And we both ended up coming in together. It’s a really nice feeling for me.”

The inductees spoke of their inspirations and thanked their influences. Murphy even provided a few stories, including the night her team snuck into her hotel room. She found them all huddled in the shower after foiling their scheme.

“I said, ‘What are you doing?” recalled Murphy. “They said, ‘We were trying to roll you out into the hall. We wanted to put you out there.'”

Murphy, the long-time Lewiston tennis coach, wanted to thank her players by name but that thought proved daunting.

“I wouldn’t be here if it were not for them,” said Murphy. “I had to stop. My list was so long. 35 years is a long time. I thought of one or two players from each team that deserved to be mentioned. “

Like Murphy, Jawor, who was a standout track athlete at Lewiston and Tennessee and also coached at Bates,  mentioned the tremendous outpouring of support she had received since her nomination. She even heard from a childhood friend she hadn’t heard from in years that now lives in Norway.


“I thought that was fascinating that the Hall of Fame had reached all the way across the world.” Jawor said.

Ackley, a standout at EL in three sports and later a coach at Oxford Hills and Edward Little, thanked her family and parents, Tom and Wanda Brown for the support they had provided and the example they had set.

“I had hoped that they would always be proud of the person I grew up to be,” said Ackley. “Thank you for the humbling honor to be able to bring pride to my parents and family.”

Representing the male gender was Gagne, one of the country’s most successful hockey coaches.

“For me to have success as a coach, I had to recognize the coaches that inspired me,” Gagne said. “The disciplinarians that I had, I certainly needed them at that time. I thought they were being tough on me, but in later years, I really appreciated what they did for me.”

Gagne talked about bringing enthusiasm to coaching and having belief in the cause.


“You’ve got to believe what you’re doing is important and that the players will benefit from what you teach them,” said Gagne. “You’ve got to believe that you can reach them and make a difference in their lives. You’ve got to believe that your players will love it as much as you do and that will have been from the love you had for them.”

Also recognized was the 1978 Lewiston Class B boys’ and girls’ state ski champions. The Pioneer Award honored Fred Hall Sr., while Pauline Bourgoin was recognized with the Earl B. Austin Jr. Award for her service to the area with the YMCA.

Among the President’s Award winners were coaches Kevin Cullen of St. Dom’s and Lynette Morency of Lewiston. College athletes recognized included Matt Harmon, Maria Labbe, David Pless, Corey Therriault and Jame LePage.

High school athletes that were honored included Ashlee Arnold, Abby Dunn, Mohamed Barre, Kirsty Beauschene, Mary Caron, Zack DeBlois, Will Desmarais, Connor Harris, Corbin Hyde, Quin Leary, Allarie Lever and Steven Patrie.

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