When an athlete receives a call for induction into a hall of fame, it’s not too often that he or she is still competing at a high level.

But Sunday’s Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston will cap off a busy week for Lewiston’s Ron Chicoine in the sport he’s loved for a lifetime.

This past Monday, the former Lewiston High School and University of Maine tennis standout player and coach flew out to Boise, Idaho, for the United States Tennis Association’s National Under-55 Indoor Championships — the eighth national tournament in which he has competed.

In singles competition, he won in the round of 64 before bowing out in the round of 32 to fifth-seeded Leo Young, 6-1, 6-2. In the consolation bracket, he defeated Nestor Braganza 7-5, 6-2. His run in the consolation bracket came to an end in the third round, where he fell to Edgardo Quinones, 6-2, 6-1.

In the opening round of the main draw in the doubles competition he and his partner, Russell Byrne (Pasadena, California) lost to Richard Brown and George Foster 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. They moved to the consolation quarterfinal qualifying round where they faced Andy Risteen and Mike Machado, defeating them 7-6, 7-6. Chicoine and Byrne forfeited their quarterfinal match.

“I have been lucky to go Nationals (eight) times,” Chicoine said. “Playing in a team setting it’s fun, playing not for myself, but for other guys and pull together and win as a team. Being from Maine and beating California teams is always fun.”

Right now Chicoine is the 36th-ranked player in the nation in the under-55 division. Two years ago, he was in the top 30.

“Two years ago I finished the year I was 29th, and it was my first year playing national tournaments,” Chicoine said. “My goal was to be in the top 50 and I was happy, I ended up 29th, a little bit higher than my goal. I ended up being number one in New England in the 50s (age group), which was nice also. I wasn’t really looking at New England’s, but I got number one in the region.”

He said playing in these national tournaments, he is facing stiff competition. he’s up against other former Division I players from big name programs, and former tour pros that have played in Grand Slams events.

This season, he hopes he will be able to crack the top 20.

Chicoine’s love for the sport was fostered after watching the Battle of the Sexes at the Houston Astrodome between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King on September 20, 1973. King defeated Riggs, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

He and the rest of his family went out and started playing. He learned a lot of the basics playing tennis through the Lewiston Recreation Department. When he started playing tennis at Lewiston High School, his father, Rene Chicoine, took over as coach. His mother, Anita Murphy, a 2013 A-L Hall of Fame inductee, has been Lewiston’s girls’ coach since 1978. He knew he wanted to play at a competitive level past high school, even at an young age.

“When I was 16, I got my license and I started driving to tennis tournaments,” Chicoine said. “I played at a tournament in Portland and it was the first time I have ever made the semifinals of a state (men’s) tournament. I got to play Dutch Ducharme, who was from Lewiston. He was one of the Lewiston people I admired growing up. He beat me pretty handily, but he gave me my first taste of a semifinals of tournament. It motivated me to work harder and I kept playing in the tournaments.”

He also had a strong singles career at Lewiston, and made it to the final four in the state singles tournament in his junior and senior seasons. He finished fourth his junior year and runner-up as a senior. In both years, Burt Cole of Cape Elizabeth ousted him from the tournament. 

After Lewiston High School, he enrolled at the University of Maine, where in his freshman season he was the Black Bears’ No. 3 singles player. He went undefeated that season and vaulted to the No. 1 position his remaining three seasons, where he also achieved All New England status. He captained the Black Bears his senior season.

After his eligibility was up, he stayed in Orono for one more year to decide whether he wanted to go to medical school. His college coach took a sabbatical and he was named the interim tennis coach in 1985.

“Brud Folger and the athletic department asked me if I wanted to be interim coach for one year,” Chicoine said. “I was honored, it was a feather in my cap. I was a young head coach, I just played with half the team the year before. It was an interesting experience. It was tough coaching your buddies that you were horsing around the year before, now you have to discipline them. It was a lot different, but it was a valuable experience and a big responsibility.”

After that one season, he enrolled at the University of Vermont where he graduated in 1989. Due to medical school and his residency, he didn’t play much tennis for a 10-year period starting when he enrolled at Vermont.

When he got back to Lewiston is when he got into coaching the Lewiston boys’ tennis team, starting in 2002, after his father stepped down. Chicoine amassed a 137-2 record and his teams captured eight state titles in nine seasons. He was named the KVAC Boys’ Coach of the Year in 2004, 2006 and 2011.

Chicoine enjoyed teaching the game at that level.

“We had a bunch of good athletes come out for tennis,” Chicoine said. “I was really fortunate, the Lewiston kids to be honest are some of the easiest kids in the world to coach. I have coached at different places. Lewiston kids are so easy to coach. They did what I asked them to do and they worked hard. You never have to worry how hard they compete, they were giving it 100 percent.”

In 2009 he added the title of head coach of the men’s tennis team at the University of Southern Maine to his resume. He coached both teams for three seasons before resigning at Lewiston after the 2011 season to focus on coaching at USM.

He was named the Little East Coach of the Year in 2010

In 2014, he became a volunteer assistant coach at Bates College for the men’s and women’s teams. The move to Bates allowed him to be closer to his day job as an anesthesiologist at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. He hopes he can bring his winning ways to Bates. 

“Paul Gastonguay (Bates’ head coach) does a great job of making those adjustments with people, like strokes and technique,” Chicoine said. “When I coach there, I am really working on more on strategy — especially in doubles and singles — staying positive, staying focused on every point. Even with these high-level athletes, sometimes you have to remind them of that.  Bates, once again, has wonderful athletes and easy to coach. I think we will win a national championship at some point. I don’t know when, but I hope we do.”

[email protected] 

Lewiston High School tennis coach Ron Chicoine consoles his No. 2 singles player Eric Hall after Lewiston lost to Windham, 3-2, during the state championship at Colby College in Waterville in 2010. Lewiston players in the background are Brett Vallee, left, Alex Chicoine and Jon McDonough.Lewiston High School tennis coach Ron Chicoine talks with doubles players Keagan Cote, middle, and Brett Vallee, right, between sets during a match against Edward Little in 2010.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.