ORONO — Sun Journal sports writer Bob McPhee will be inducted into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame this fall.

In addition to McPhee, honorees include record-setting quarterback Jake Eaton, All-American baseball player Andy Hartung, three-time all-conference field hockey player Margaret Henrick, multi-event All-New England track-and-field standout Johanna Riley, and two-time All-Yankee Conference and All-New England soccer selection Edward “Ted” Woodbrey Jr.

McPhee was a wrestler for Stephens High School in Rumford and sustained a brain stem contusion during a football scrimmage in 1976. He became a quadriplegic. 

McPhee has been in a wheelchair since the incident. He was left without a voice or the use of his legs and only limited mobility of his fingers and upper body.

He earned an “M” at UMaine for his contributions to the wrestling program and helped coach Nick Nicolich guide the squad to a 9-4 record in 1983-84.

He also was co-sports editor of The Maine Campus.

McPhee, who uses a voice synthesizer, underwent five years of rehabilitation and attended Husson College before transferring to UMaine, where he earned a journalism degree.

At the time, technology allowed McPhee to communicate through a small ticker-tape device.

McPhee returned to the River Valley in 1987 and joined the Sun Journal staff as a sportswriter.

In the early 1990s, through the help of local fundraising efforts, McPhee was equipped with a “Liberator.” The combination keypad and computerized voice allow him to communicate and conduct interviews.

His work has reaped regional and national acclaim. McPhee was inducted into the Maine Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2000 as both an athlete and journalist. The Maine Sports Hall of Fame presented McPhee with a special achievement award in 2004.

Other honors included a state editor of the year award from Wrestling U.S.A. magazine, a media award from the Maine Field Hockey Coaches Association, and a writer of the year distinction by the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

The Class of 2016 Hall of Famers were selected by the M Club and approved by UMaine President Susan J. Hunter and Athletic Director Karlton Creech. The induction dinner and ceremony will be held Sept. 30.


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