Front: Coach Bean, second row: Ruby Dubord St. Pierre, Lynnette Shepardson Wheeler, Ann Desjardins Nemi, Audrey Bamford. Back row: Cyndi Meserve Bona, Benita Lake Berry, Pam Richard Martin,  Debra Hardy Timberlake, Debbie Coombs Finley, Marlene Judd Haynes. Submitted photo

Front: Coachs Charlie Castonguay and Byron Bean, second row: Genevieve Hinkley Clark, Margaret Casey Leclerc, Sue Heird Boothby, Donna Oberton, Brenda Bryant Leclerc, Rhonda Bean, DeDe Oberton, Debbie Newcomb Pratt, Diane Richard. Back: Donna Pulsifer Gagnon, Sue Tripp Fraser. Submitted photo

Brenda Bryant Leclerc and Sue Tripp Fraser presenting Coach Bean with a plaque and book commemorating his coaching career. Submitted photo

LIVERMORE FALLS — In November 1969, Coach Byron Bean took over the helm of the LFHS girls’ basketball program.  His first team posted an 8-4 record, a respectable season by most standards, but Coach Bean and the girls he led had bigger things in mind.  In season two, Livermore Falls sported a 14-2 record and captured the Mountain Valley Conference (MVC) Championship for the first time since 1938.  Things just got better from there.  Over the years (1969-1978 and 1985-1986) Coach Bean’s teams amassed an amazing 179-25 record, winning 32 consecutive games, 7 MVC Titles, 2 Western Maine Crowns, and a State of Maine Championship.

Coach Bean’s former players came together this September to honor his legacy with a surprise party at the Livermore Community Center.  The players, who are almost all in their 60’s, and Coach Bean reminisced about the “glory days”, recalling exciting games, wins over Class A schools, and the hard work that went into attaining all that success.

“Getting involved with Coach Bean and the high school basketball team was life changing for me,” one former player declared.  “Since there were no organized sports for girls at that time before high school, this was my first opportunity to join a team….I felt he was a fair and patient coach and taught us a lot.  He pushed hard, but we all knew it was why we kept winning.  Our team had successful seasons all four years that I played for LFHS, winning the MVC title each year.  Coach Bean gave me so much confidence and positive support which has helped me in all aspects of my life.”

Those thoughts were echoed by another player who recalled, “Coach Bean was the epitome of what every kid needs —structure, discipline, and compassion…(he) made me believe that anything was possible if you wanted it bad enough and worked hard….Sometimes people come into our lives and help us to become the best person we can be, and it is evident that Coach Bean helped many young students become not only excellent athletes but extraordinary people.  He is the role model that all coaches should aspire to become.”

So on a warm, late summer afternoon as old friends reunited to reminisce about basketball exploits that took place fifty years ago, we realized that lessons learned as teenagers on the basketball court, taught by a coach who believed that hard work and determination paid off, were invaluable tools as we navigated the course of our lives.

As for Coach Bean, he described the party as “one of the biggest days of my life”.  It doesn’t get better than that.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: