Some of the best years of Craig Jipson’s life were spent in the Edward Little High School gymnasium watching his three children play basketball for the Red Eddies.

This coming fall, Edward Little’s aging facility will be replaced by two gyms after the new school is completed and ready for classes.

Only 1,500 people will be allowed in the current gym to attend the facility’s send-off on Thursday, when the Red Eddies varsity basketball teams host Lewiston. The battle of the bridge rivalry matchups will begin with the girls basketball game at 5 p.m., followed by the boys at 7 p.m. 

The gym’s farewell will include several presentations and appearances from former coaches.

Jipson, a longtime Edward Little teacher and coach and the Lewiston girls basketball coach since 2020, will be overseeing the Blue Devils when they face the Red Eddies in the school’s gymnasium for the last time.

Jipson coached the Edward Little girls and boys teams during several stints, either as the head coach or an assistant, and his children — CJ, Kaylee and Storm — all passed through that gym, which was used for many purposes and offered a unique feature to fans: spectators could purchase food and drink inside the spacious gym without missing the action.


“There were lots of great memories, and my kids grew up in that gym,” Jipson said. “When I got the (teaching) job, they were like in kindergarten, first and second grade. … They grew up and started Eddies Camp when I first got the job.

“The kids grew up in that gym all the way up through, and I had a dozen great years coaching there. Eventually I got to coach two out of three of them. I coached Kaylee on the girls team and then helped coach (Mike) Adams for three years of Storm’s team.”

The current version of Edward Little High School was built in 1961, and the Red Eddies’ spacious gym was added in 1966. Edward Little played its home games at the Lewiston Memorial Armory before the retiring gym was built.

“Can you imagine building a high school and no gym for five years,” Galway said. “Even then, they had no cafeteria.”

Edward Little High School boys basketball players work on foul shooting as seen Monday night through a chair in the school’s gym in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal


Edward Little Athletic Director Todd Sampson said retired Edward Little principal Steve Galway will be on hand to make several presentations during the ceremonies. 


“Steve Galway, who loves Edward Little basketball and loves Edward Little, has been a key factor — him and his wife Linda have done a lot of the pre-planning,” Sampson said. “We are actually going to mix in a little bit of the 50-year celebration of Title IX.

“We are going to recognize (1993 graduate) Tammy Paradie (Thibeault) after the girls game. We are going to rename the Edward Little Girls Sixth Player Award. We are going to name it the Tammy Paradie Award. Tammy and her family are going to be here to be recognized. She was the first athlete to score 1,000 points, but she is also our all-time leading scorer, overall.”

Thibeault ended up scoring 1,325 points — the most by an Edward Little boys or girls player — during her four-year tenure and also became the first player to pull down 1,000 rebounds. What is equally remarkable is she was allowed as a freshman to play for the varsity team. Freshmen were not allowed to participate in varsity sports if there was a freshman team prior to 1989, but the school committee changed that rule following pleadings by citizens. Freshmen used to attend Walton School before moving on their sophomore year to the high school.

Thibault was later a standout at Westbrook College, where she set a handful of season records and studied nursing.

“We wanted to recognize Tammy and all her accomplishments in between the two games so we had the maximum crowd here,” Sampson said.

Sampson said former coaches Valerie Ackley, Mike Francoeur and Karl Henrikson will be on hand for ceremonies. Francoeur is an assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Southern Maine. Henrikson retired as the head coach at USM after 18 seasons. Ackley is an assistant principle at Edward Little.


“We will do the traditional Gordon ‘John’ Gillette Award, and (it) will be given out,” Sampson said. “The Steve Galway Award (will be presented) after the boys game, and we are going to recognize our senior basketball players, too.”

Sampson said that Lewiston Athletic Director Jason Fuller is also helping make this a special occasion as the Red Eddies bid farewell to their gym.

Edward Little High School boys varsity basketball coach Mike Adams, middle in blue shirt, watches players run a drill Monday night during practice in the Auburn school’s decades-old gym. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal


Jipson and Edward Little coach Mike Adams wished the old gym could be preserved, with a new one built next to it.

“It is a great gym,” Jipson said. “I know Coach Adams and I talked about would it be possible to keep the gym and just make that part of the new school. It is one of the best gyms in the state. I would love to keep the gym, not just for the memories. It is a nice, big gym, and all new gyms are built that much smaller. The size of that gym is awesome.”

John White, who served as the AD at Edward Little for 20 years, said the old gym had a good run.


“I think it served its purpose,” White said. “It would be nice to maintain it and have a second gym, but I don’t know if they are going to tear the whole place down, anyway, to do what they have in mind.”

White said the old gym offered plenty of room to hold basketball games.

“Even officiating there, people loved it because there was plenty of room to get back off the baseline to see,” White added. “I spent a lot of time there. I used to sweep the floor in between games.”

Adams has accumulated 22 years of fond memories as the current Red Eddies head coach.

“The tradition, the history, the memories … are all in that gym,” he said. “It is like (raising) a family in a house. I raised my family in this house. When there comes a day, if there is a day, that we have to pack up and we don’t need four bedrooms, three baths anymore, you can put it on the market if the price is right. It would be a sad day. 

“Never mind wins and losses. It has nothing to do with that. It is what we do with our program from summer ball to the season. There is a lot (of) memories and good times in that gym. We have a special bond (with people) because of that gym (and) it is going to be sad to see it go.”


Adams’ son, Marshal, a junior on this year’s Edward Little team, added another memory Tuesday night when he set a new record for 3-pointers made in a game in the gym, nine, in the Red Eddies’ 70-44 win over Bangor.

Adams said the gym probably could have been renovated, but he concedes planners and architects have more knowledge when it comes to building schools.

“But I am old-fashioned,” he said. “I like the character in old gyms … and all of the new gyms are kind of cookie cutters. I like old houses. I like old buildings and seeing them modernized and made nice. To have that concession stand in the gym, nobody does that anymore.

“But it is part of what we have to do, and it is nice to have two gyms. We won’t have any more practices from 8:30 to 10 o’clock at night. It will be nice to have all those modern conveniences and things that kids and community deserve.”

Galway, who lives for Edward Little basketball and was a principal there for 35 years, is looking forward to Thursday night. He still finds it hard to believe that the Red Eddies didn’t have their own gym for five years.


“A lot of the great memories with that gym,” Galway said. “Great games have been played there over the years and great players have come through the gym, not all EL players necessarily, but great players from other schools that played EL there. It has some great memories — and another great one is on Thursday night.”

Galway admitted he will shed a tear for the old gym.

“I have been in gyms from Portsmouth to Bangor, Hampden Academy (and) all over the place,” Galway said. “There is not a better gym to watch a basketball game in. If you go to the concession stand and get popcorn, you never lose sight of the game.”

Galway remembered that patrons were forced to go downstairs to get a snack while a game was played at the Sanford Armory.

“You’d lose a whole game. You are out of sight,” Galway said. 

Bim Gibson, a teacher at Auburn Middle School and an Edward Little and Lewiston sports historian, is the announcer at the Red Eddies’ home basketball games. He has been researching and posting the gym’s history on his Facebook page.


“The first time (the Red Eddies) played in the gym was during the Christmas tournament. It would have been 1966-67 season,” Gibson said. 

Gibson pointed out that the late Robert Booth coached the Edward Little boys and girls basketball teams in the late 1960s and ’70s, with the boys teams making appearances in the state tournament.

Gibson said he was fortunate to be announcing games during what he calls the golden era of Edward Little basketball during the 2000s.

“Really, with the new century with Mike Adams and Craig Jipson, that’s when everything changed (for Edward Little basketball), and literally we were good — both teams — every single year,” Gibson said. “We were in the conversation.”

Before the Augusta Civic Center was built, the Edward Little gym served as a host for MPA tournament games.

“Literally, for six, seven years, that’s where the (state) tournament was. It was kind of crazy,” Gibson said. “When I was a kid, I used to sell popcorn at that tournament during the early ’70s. I have been around that gym from almost the beginning. It is a good gym.”


“It has hosted a lot of great nights, a lot of tournament games — all kinds of fun,” Sampson said. “I do have some special memories. I wasn’t a great basketball player. I played a little basketball as a student. I was a JV coach under Mike Francoeur for a couple of years. I spent a lot of great nights in that gym and made a lot of memories.”

But, Sampson said, the time is right to replace the decades-old gym with two gyms that will continue to meet the needs of Edward Little’s athletes.

“The bleachers are tough to pull out. There is gaps in between the sections of bleachers,” he said. “You know, it is just time.

“The architects know better and now as we have gotten further into the construction and the planning for the removal — and I am not an environmentalist or have any knowledge of this stuff — (but) the building materials in the late ’60s, you know, are hazardous right now. It is good to get into a new building where there is a new heating system, newer accommodations.”

The school recently showed its age, which affected the basketball action.

“It wasn’t the gym, but last Friday night, we had to move the Thornton Academy basketball team because it was freezing in their locker room,” Sampson said. “Little things like that with an old facility, we won’t have to worry about next year.”


Sampson stressed the advantages of adding two gyms and the options that come with building dual facilities.

“As a former physical education teacher, it is gold because right now you may have three different physical education classes going on in the same space. Now with that second gym, you can do some things where you have your own space. But athletically, it gives an opportunity to hosting a Unified basketball game in the afternoon (and) maybe we have practices going on in the auxiliary gym.

“For years, our cheerleaders have practiced at elementary schools because there just wasn’t gym time or gym space — and now we will have that. And the other great thing is we run practices until nine o’clock at night. If we can get these kids back home earlier and get coaches home earlier, that is a benefit, too, of having the two gymnasiums.”

Jipson is pleased that there will be two gyms at the new school.

“I think it is great for the academic thing, but it is also great for the sports teams,” Jipson said. “Kids aren’t going to have to be there until 10 o’clock at night. Upset to see the gym go, but it is going to be great for the community and that all of the athletic facilities besides hockey are going to be on one campus. But the gym has served its purpose and (it is) great for the community to have a new high school.”

Sampson said the architects and the building committee planned to keep the concession stand inside the new gym.

“We are going to have a concession stand right inside the gymnasium because that was something unique to Edward Little and something that we wanted to carry over, so kudos to those people making those decisions,” Sampson said.

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