McAvoy heeds call to join basketball Hall of Fame

DYER BROOK, Maine — With 34 years of basketball coaching experience, it was only a matter of when Sherman native Bill McAvoy would receive the call to join Maine’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Maine Basketball Hall of Fame committee on Tuesday, Feb. 6, named McAvoy among the 16 inductees, five Legends of the Game, and the undefeated 1960 Lewiston state championship boys basketball team who will become part of the hall in August.

“I knew at some point I would probably get in, but it is a great honor to receive the call this year,” McAvoy said.

McAvoy has a career coaching record of 432-229, highlighted by an Eastern Maine Class D championship with Katahdin in 2000, seven other trips to regional championship games (SA in 2017, 2016 and 2014, Central Aroostook in 1982 and 1987, and Katahdin in 1997 and 2001), and 19 overall appearances in the regional semifinals.

McAvoy’s teams’ have qualified for postseason play in 31 of his 34 years on the sidelines.

His prowess does not extend only to coaching. McAvoy played on an undefeated Class S state championship team at Sherman High School in 1967. McAvoy then played on the very first Katahdin team, helping the Cougars to an undefeated regular-season finish.

He went on to study and continue his basketball career at Unity College, where he became the school’s all-time leading scorer, before returning to northern Maine to begin teaching and coaching at Central Aroostook.

“I would not have gone to college if it were not for my high school coach Ron Marks,” McAvoy said. “To this day, I talk to him three or four times a year. If he knows I have a big game, he will call me.”

McAvoy served as a junior varsity coach under Frank Keenan at CAHS for three years, then took over the head coaching duties in the 1977-1978 season. He coached the Panthers for 13 seasons, compiling a 163-88 record.

McAvoy said he owes his start in coaching to Keenan, who waited to step down from the varsity job until right before the start of the 1977 season so McAvoy could take over.

“Not only is Frank a friend, but he is someone I can talk basketball with,” McAvoy said. “I may not always agree with his opinion, but I respect him.”

McAvoy coached at Central Aroostook of Mars Hill and Katahdin of Stacyville before taking the reins of the Southern Aroostook program in Dyer Brook starting with the 2012-13 season.

“Six years ago, Bill McAvoy was hired to coach varsity boys basketball at Southern Aroostook and brought with him a long history of coaching experience and success,” said Jon Porter, principal at Southern Aroostook Community School. “I have watched Bill’s team’s when he coached at Central Aroostook, Katahdin, and now Southern Aroostook. What I know about Bill’s teams is that they play hard and fast. The kids work real hard for him and he is a motivational coach. If you have any question about how he motivates, come watch one of his practices.”

“Bill has certainly changed the culture of boys basketball here at Southern Aroostook,” added Cliff Urquhart, varsity girls basketball coach at SA for the past five years. “He has brought stability to the program.”

Porter said McAvoy’s impact was almost immediate.

“Bill has had great success at SACS, but even more than the wins and losses, Bill cares about his players,” Porter said. “He is developing their skills on the basketball court. He also makes sure they are doing their job in the classroom by checking in with teachers and staff. He also gives rides to kids who might need a ride.”

In the summer, McAvoy runs basketball camps for local youth and he also volunteers to referee peewee basketball games.

McAvoy joins an impressive list of former players and coaches to be named to Maine’s Basketball Hall of Fame this year, including former Lawrence stars Cindy Blodgett and coach Brenda Beckwith, ex-Colby College star Paul Belanger, longtime former Mt. Blue of Farmington coach Jim Bessey, former Jonesport-Beals and UMaine star Sandi Carver, former Medomak Valley of Waldoboro and Brown University player Dean Erickson, ex-Milo High School and Ricker College standout Peter Hamlin, and veteran Camden Hills of Rockport coach Jeff Hart.

Also, former Freeport High School and Duke University player Barbara Krause, former Maine basketball commissioner and Husson University president and basketball coach Delmont “Del” Merrill, one-time University of Southern Maine athletic standout and Kennebunk High School coach Bill Obermeyer, former Bucksport High School and Husson University center Keith Ogden, legendary Bangor High School athletic standout Leroy Patterson, longtime Portland High School coach Joe Russo, and Morse High School of Bath and University of Maine star Rick Woods.

Entering the hall as Legends of the Game are former University of New England coach and athletic director Jim Beaudry, longtime high school coach and administrator and Eastern Maine tournament director Bill Fletcher, veteran Caribou High School athletic administrator Dwight Hunter, former Sumner of East Sullivan standout Elwood “Bimbo” Pinkham, former Cleveland Cavaliers president Thaxter Trafton, and former Brunswick High and UMaine player and longtime high school administrator Arthur Warren.

The induction banquet is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 19, at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

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