DIXFIELD — Selectmen voted unanimously Monday to support a request to name the baseball field in Harlow Park after longtime coach Bob McPhee.

At the park entrance near center field will be a sign that reads: “Welcome to Harlow Park. Home of the Bob McPhee Baseball Diamond.”

The idea for the honor came from Dirigo High School baseball coach Ryan Palmer, who has had McPhee as his assistant coach for the past eight years.

Pitching the idea to the Board of Selectmen was Jon Holmes, a Dirigo Cougar sports supporter and a longtime friend of McPhee.

“It’s nice to honor someone while they’re alive,” Holmes said. “This is an honor he’s earned, I feel.”

Bob McPhee with a facsimile of a sign that will be placed at an entrance to the ball field at Harlow Park in Dixfield. Submitted photo

“It is quite an honor and one that I never expected,” McPhee wrote. “My first recollection of Harlow Park was watching ball games. Thanks again to the select board and the Harlow family for approving this recognition.”

On Wednesday, Palmer posted on Facebook: “After the Harlow Park baseball field gets a face-lift, it will be known as the ‘Bob McPhee Baseball Diamond.’ The field should be finished by mid-August. We will have a dedication ceremony sometime after that. Bob’s name will be cemented in at Harlow Park forever!”

McPhee, who helped the Dirigo Cougars win back-to-back Class C state championships in 2012 and 2013, retired a couple of years ago after a career of covering high school sports for the Lewiston Sun Journal and the Rumford Falls Times.

McPhee was a three-sport athlete at Rumford High School during the mid-1970s until a sudden, tragic football injury left him paralyzed from the neck down.

While McPhee cannot physically demonstrate baseball’s fundamentals, Palmer said, players in the program have have relied on his knowledge and understanding of the game.

Along the way, McPhee has earned plaques from the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame, and various journalism awards. He is also the recipient of the 2011 National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Medal of Courage.

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Leading the effort to name the ball field at Harlow Park in Dixfield after Bob McPhee were Ryan Palmer, left, and Jon Holmes. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

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