Coach John Shaw, lower left, with the 1976 state champion Rumford Panthers boys basketball team. Rumford went on to win the 1976 New England Championship, and Shaw was also named the State Coach of the Year. (Photo courtesy of the Rumford Historical Society)

John Shaw, the head coach of Rumford High School boys basketball during it’s dynastic run in the 1970s, is being inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Sunday.

Shaw, who is being inducted as a Legend of the Game, while another title-winning Rumford coach, Mark Karter, and former Bates College standout Adrienne Shibles are part of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022.

Shaw was the man in charge during the Panthers’ Class A titles in 1974,’76 and ’77. They also won the 1976 New England Championship. That run was during a stretch of five consecutive years that Rumford earned the top seed.

While he’s honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, Shaw wishes it was alongside his players, especially the 1976 team.

“It was good (to be inducted) but I felt a little indifferent because I guess I believed it should be the ’76 team that was going in, instead,” Shaw said. “I wish the team was getting the recognition. Partially, because I am one of those people where one of my greatest faults — and strengths, as well — is I don’t look back. It’s not something I focus on and it was a long time ago.

“Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s really, really nice. But I believe it’s the team that belongs there, and I believe they will be there someday.”


Shaw doesn’t look back, but when former players visit Camden, where Shaw now resides, he meets them for lunch or for golf. The relationships with his players were always what meant the most to him.

“Truthfully it’s the quality of the kids I worked with,” Shaw said. “I was really, really lucky to work with class, quality people. Meaning the kids. It’s a little more enjoyable when you get really, really good kids. There were some really great ones that came through there, and some could play a little basketball, and that helped, too.”

When asked to look back at his time as coach of the Rumford Panthers, Shaw said the summers stand out most. Shaw would pack his eight-person van with players and go on a week-long trip every summer. Sometimes it was to Rhode Island, sometimes the middle of Boston.

The teams played a lot of basketball during the summer, his goal was 60 games each summer, but the main purpose of the trips was to help the players grow closer together as a team. 

“We’d sleep in sleeping bags in a basement or sleep outside,” Shaw said. “They slept out on an island on Pitcher Pond in Lincolnville once. That was one of the most important things we did. They became very, very close. Those trips were about building the team.”

Shaw added that those trips were the first times many of the players left the state.


The Panther also hosted teams from outside Maine. Over Christmas breaks, Rumford often held tournaments and invite teams like Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey and Providence Central High School.

“People in Rumford didn’t have many people of color, and those teams were all Black kids,” Shaw said. “So it was a cultural thing, as well. They stayed with my kids, not in motels, so it was a great learning experience.”

Shaw is excited for Sunday, but would be more so if his players were by his side. 

“I wish we were just celebrating them. I probably would be more excited about the whole thing had it been years ago when it was closer to that time,” Shaw said.

Rumford High School merged with Mexico High School and became Mountain Valley High School in the late 1980s.

Mark Karter was the Mountain Valley coach in 1991 when the Falcons won the Class B championship over Rockland.


While still a senior at the University of Maine at Farmington, Karter was hired to be Rumford’s boys coach in 1985. He was hired by Shaw, then the school’s athletic director, to take over for Doug Roberts, one of the Panthers’ top stars during the 1970s run.

By 1991, the Mountain Valley Falcons were loaded with talent and fans.

“That was a special group,” Karter said. “The amount of talent we had, we had just combined Rumford and Mexico together and there was a lot of uncertainty about the merger. It was a thrill to coach so many great players. I will never forget walking into the Bangor Auditorium and having the whole towns of Rumford and Mexico giving the kids a standing ovation. It was incredible. That’s the thing I’ll remember, also. Even away games, people wanted to get a look at our teams, so every gym we went into was filled. They were great atmospheres.”

Karter, who also won two Western Maine championships at Westbrook, currently is the coach of Gorham’s boys team. He said he was honored when he received a phone call in February about being selected for the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame.

“It was a surprising and humbling call, but I was very grateful for it,” Karter said. “I was more humbled than anything else. There were so many great people in the Hall of Fame, and a lot of great people that I look up to and model my coaching after. To be in the same Hall as them is a pretty good feeling.”

Karter was Mountain Valley’s coach during Andy Bedard’s freshman year. Bedard, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, said Karter’s influence extends beyond Rumford, Westbrook and Gorham.


“He’s a legend and helped promote the game of basketball across the state,” Bedard said. “His years at Pine Tree Basketball Camp and leading Maine basketball coaches and players extended to every community in Maine.”

Before she became Darmouth’s coach in 2021, and before becoming the winningest coach in Bowdoin College history, Andrienne Shibles was a standout at Bates College in Lewiston.

Shibles scored more than 1,000 points for the Bobcats and was team captain for two years before graduating in 1991.

She was hired by Bowdoin in 2008 and guided the Polar Bears to a 281-65 record, 11 NCAA Tournament appearances and two Division III championship games.

Before attending Bates, Shibles, a Knox native, played on Mount View’s 1987 Eastern Maine Class B runner-up team.

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