Dyer, Smith to be honored

17 years ago

James E. Dyer and Donald Smith will be inducted posthumously into the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honors, during a ceremony to be held Oct. 7 in Waterville.

James E. Dyer
An athlete, teacher, coach, official and semi-professional baseball player, James E. “Jim” Dyer was born Nov. 7, 1920 in Dover-Foxcroft. While at Foxcroft Academy, Dyer lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track.
He attended and graduated from Bowdoin College, where he excelled both athletically and academically. He was involved in student government, the National Honor Society and was a member of the DKE Fraternity.
Dyer played baseball at Bowdoin, setting records and earning himself a roster spot with the semi-pro Sebec Lakers in Dover and the Presque Isle Indians. In the summer of 1940, Dyer was named to the United States team in the World Series of Amateur Baseball in Cuba, where eight countries competed. He was a leading semi-pro baseball in Maine and the Maritimes for years.
Dyer also was one of the leading basketball officials in Eastern Maine.
In 1986, he was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Dyer joined the staff at Presque Isle High School in 1947 and taught multi-levels of mathematics. He was relaxed, down to earth and genuine, which captured love and respect of his students. He always treated students with equity, thus making them know they were important to him as individuals. Beside his uncanny ability to put students at ease, Dyer had the talent to explain math with clarity.
While at PIHS, he coached the varsity baseball team to many championships. He kept the game simple, starting with the basic skills and then adding plays and strategies in small doses. Dyer created an atmosphere that encouraged his players to make some choices on their own, which bolstered their self-esteem. Baseball was Dyer’s love and passion.
After the updating was completed, Presque Isle High School’s baseball field was named the James E. Dyer Memorial Field in his honor.
“It is fitting that this field be named the James E. Dyer Memorial Field to honor an outstanding athlete, teacher, baseball coach and person that your husband and father was,” said coach Tim Olore during the ceremony, which included Dyer’s wife, Doris, and their five children. “Coach Dyer loved the game of baseball, but what he loved more was seeing his kids grow into becoming good athletes and young adults. He had a way with kids to bring out the best in their performance.
“There will never be another coach like Coach Dyer.”
Olore was also the presenter when Dyer was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame.
Each year, a deserving student is chosen for the James E. Dyer Scholarship, which is given to a top senior athlete at PIHS.
In 1972, Dyer died at the young age of 52, but left a legacy not to be forgotten. His picture hangs in the main hall of his beloved Presque Isle High School.

Donald Smith
Donald “Don” Smith was an athlete, educator and coach who was born in Presque Isle in 1918. He attended Easton High School and earned 16 varsity letters in cross country, winter sports (skiing and snowshoeing), basketball and baseball.
In 1940, Smith graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and while there, he lettered in varsity cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, setting records in all three sports.
Under coach Chester Jenkins, Smith was a New England Intercollegiate Cross Country Champion for four consecutive years (1936-1939) and established a record his senior year.
In indoor track, Smith set UMaine records in the mile, half mile and 1,000-yard events. Also in 1939, he was the runner-up in the mile at the National AAU Championships and was third in the mile in the NCAA Championships.
Smith coached winter sports at Aroostook Central Institute and Easton High School before becoming the athletic director at Presque Isle High School for 13 years. His career in education lasted 38 years.
In 1992, Smith was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. In a Bangor Daily News article on his induction, Smith was quoted as saying “Really, what I appreciate the most about my running is the education I got. My coach was a very intelligent person and he saw to it we got educated. I had my first airplane ride, my first ride on an ocean liner, I visited Radio City and the Empire State Building. I went to two World Fairs. There isn’t anyplace that intimidates me when I go there.”
While attending UMaine, he held offices in Men’s Student Senate, Interfraternity Council, M Club, Maine Athletic Association and Phi Eta Kappa Fraternity.
Smith was also inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame.
On Jan. 23, 2007, Smith passed away, survived by his wife, Elza of Presque Isle, three sons, two stepsons, two stepdaughters, two grandchildren and several step-grandchildren.
At the end of his obituary was the comment, “As a college track star, Don was often called the ‘Easton Express’ by Maine and New England sports writers. The Easton Express has had a long distance run – a good run.
He is now at rest in the terminal.”