Mt. Blue is establishing an athletic hall of fame. Mt Blue Athletic Director Chad Brackett at left and Mt. Blue Middle School Principal James Black are behind the idea. Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — The idea of Mt. Blue High School having a Hall of Fame came to Chad Brackett and James Black during their teaching and coaching stints at Skowhegan High School back in the day.

“Back then we both thought it would be great for our alma mater to have a HOF,” Brackett, Mt. Blue’s athletic director, said. “When we both became administrators here at MBRSD, we collaborated on the idea.”

The pair of educators said there are several reasons why Mt. Blue should have a hall of fame.

“Mt. Blue has a tremendous history of athletic success dating back to its very beginning about 50 years ago,” Brackett explained. “The community has always supported athletics at MBHS and I think this is a way for the school and community to celebrate our rich history.”

Black, who is the principal at Mt. Blue Middle School, said working as the athletic director and assistant principal at Spruce Mountain strengthened his belief that Mt. Blue deserves a hall of fame.

“During my time there, I was working on my (Certificate of Advanced Studies) through Saint Joseph’s College in Standish,” Black explained. “My final thesis work focused on the importance of sports programs within the state and how the programs that combined teams (Jay, Livermore), Spruce Mountain and Oceanside (Rockland, Georges Valley) had smoother transitions to becoming new districts.

“Those who did not (like) Mountain Valley and Dirigo eventually split again,” he noted. “This working thesis evolved into the hall of fame creation as a way of honoring the past but also welcoming the future. At that time, many older folks in both communities still had strong feelings towards their particular school.

“A few years ago, I presented the idea to Chad as a way to highlight Mt. Blue’s great history of sports and sports programs,” Black continued. “We both had worked and coached in Skowhegan where they had an active football hall of fame. It really brought the community together and was something we always discussed Mt. Blue having.”

Of course, funding is always a concern, but the two educators are looking at locating the hall in the school’s gym or around the MBHS athletic department.

“We would like to find a way to honor inductees somewhere physically in the building,” Brackett said. “We don’t have the resources to do so right now and would love to find community businesses that might be interested in working with us to create something in the building.

“Having grown up in the community and attended MBHS, I am excited for our past student-athletes, coaches, teams of distinction, and contributors to be honored for their achievements,” he said. “It will also be great for the current students to learn about the history of their school and the athletic programs that they currently are involved with.”

Like Brackett, Black also believes a hall of fame is important to the school system and community.

“For me personally, athletics changed my life and made school enjoyable,” he said. “I was a hands-on type and sports opened many doors for me. It opened me up to new friends and gave me a new sense of respect for myself. 

“It’s my hope that bringing attention to sports and the rich history we have in RSU 9 will encourage more students to get involved with athletics,” Black said. “It is my strong belief that athletics change lives and any way we can encourage sports within our community is a positive thing. Many schools around the state have some type of HOF for athletics and now we will also.”

Efforts are already underway to establish a hall of fame.

“We have created an MBHS Athletic Hall of Fame Selection Committee composed of current teachers, coaches, staff, sports boosters, MBHS alumni, community members and administrators,” Brackett said. “There is also a current student-athlete on the committee. We met in July and will meet again later this month.

“Mr. Black and I developed a set of by-laws and a nomination process that were approved by the MBRSD School Board of Directors. Both can be found on the MBHS site under the “Student Life” and “Athletics” drop-down menus.”

The pair is also seeking the help of the local business community.

“We would really like to team up with local businesses that share our pride in MBHS athletics and our storied history,” Brackett added. “There is a nomination packet posted on the MBHS website. Anyone can nominate a former student-athlete, coach, team of distinction, or contributor to MBHS athletics for consideration. The person nominating is asked to provide evidence for the committee to consider. Nominations are due before Dec. 31.”

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