AUBURN — Dave Gonyea is the director of security, student housing, athletics and the men’s basketball coach for Central Maine Community College — where he also lives on campus year-round.

Dave Gonyea, right, chats with retiring CMCC president Scott Knapp at Thursday’s ceremony to name the Kirk Hall basketball court in Gonyea’s honor. The floor in front of the two men bears Gonyea’s signature. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

No wonder they named the Mustangs’ refurbished basketball court in his honor with his permanent signature on Thursday afternoon.

Former players, coaches, administrators and friends gathered to honor a dedicated man who gladly wears many hats for CMCC.

“This is not a job for me; this is a lifestyle,” Gonyea said. “I love the people I work with. I love the kids that go to school here. I don’t have any children of my own so they are like my own kids. I love the community. It is not work to me. I enjoy every bit of it.”

Having a pair of signatures on CMCC’s court, which has given Gonyea so many fond memories, is a welcomed honor.

“It very cool and I so appreciate it,” he said. “What I like best though is what it represents…is all those people who contributed to the program and all those kids who were here, They were a part of it as well.”

Gonyea, who has been men’s basketball coach since 1993, had a humorous way of looking at this honor.

“I actually thought it might happen after I die — or after I retired, maybe,” he said with a grin. “CMCC President Scott Knapp told me a month ago this was going to happen. He is the reason why the school is where it is.”

“He took the school from 1,000 students to 3,000 students and provincialized us, and we are one of the leading institutes in the state, I think.”

Gonyea had a helping hand in CMCC’s growth as a two-year college.

His highlights include:

• Holds 514-234 record over 26 seasons
• New England Coach of the Year, 1996-97
• NSCAA AD of the Year
• USCAA AD of the Year
• MSCC Coach of the Year five times
• Yankee Conference Coach of Year three times
• Inducted in the USCAA Hall of Fame in 2017

CMCC has won nine league championships and three New England championships, participated in 12 NSCAA/USCAA national championship tournaments and won the prestigious USCAA national championship in 2002. In 2012, he led the Mustangs to a Yankee Conference championship.

WHAT THEY LIKE ABOUT HIM

Knapp, who is retiring after 23 years of serving CMMC, said he wanted to honor Gonyea in this manner for a long time.

“I specifically wanted to get this done before I retired,” Knapp said. “Somebody else could have done it, but Dave and I have been very close for 23 years. He was literally the first person I met when I came here. He really made the athletic program here. There was no serious athletic program, and he has coached men’s basketball all this time.”

“He was also instrumental in starting women’s basketball,” Knapp added. “We sometimes played without a bench. Sometimes, there was one person on the bench and the coach was living in horror that he would have to put her in, and I think she was living in more horror that she would have to go in. So there wasn’t much of a basketball program here, and the women have now won three national championships. So we have gone from no bench to three national championships. That’s not bad.”

Knapp pointed out that Gonyea fulfills many rolls, including the housing and security director jobs on top being the AD and the men’s basketball coach.

“Dave is here 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Knapp said. “There are more hours in the day in which he is in charge of this campus than I am. Dave is responsible for getting hundreds of people through college. There are kids that come here to play sports. Now they get an education while they are here, but they came here to play sports. They came here because he recruited them and stayed here because he coached them.”

CMCC women’s head basketball and director of admissions Andrew Morong also pushed for the opportunity to honor Gonyea. He credited the staff for pulling off the event.

“I think (Gonyea’s) impact obviously goes far beyond the basketball court,” Morong said. “I think if you ask alumni, he has impacted their lives in ways that maybe they didn’t realize at the time when they were players, but now have learned to appreciate (it).

“But to me, that is what coaching is all about,” Morong said. “It is how you impact your players, your student-athletes years after the fact they are done playing. Obviously, (Gonyea) has embraced basketball as a tool to teach life lessons — and that is what coaching is all about.”

Gonyea’s former players and students have nothing but respect for a man who will go the distance for them.

Kaleb Violette, a USCAA All-American who averaged 23.3 points and 11 rebounds per game for the Mustangs, said this is a well-deserved honor for Gonyea.

“He has been here,” said Violette, a 1,000-point scorer when he played at CMCC 2004-07. “This is his life. So this is what he has been kind of doing and it is definitely well-deserved. He is the best coach I have ever had. He is somebody I really looked up to.”

Former student Mikayla Yanez, who played for Morong three years ago and was a member of the 2017 women’s national title team, came out to support Gonyea.

“Gonyea is the most influential person I have ever met in my entire life,” Yanez said. “I was incredibly honored to be here in person. I was trying not to cry this whole time because what everybody said about him is more than true. He is an incredible person.”

Current point guard and captain Corey David, an Ocala, Fla., native, will enter his fourth year at CMCC this fall in large part due to Gonyea’s guidance.

“(Gonyea) is probably the closest person in my life, so far,” David said, “and it is the reason why I have stayed as long as I have. He has always had my back. He is like a dad to me.”

Gonyea’s signatures on each side of the court will serve as constant reminders of his legacy that will span generations.


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