Five inducted into PIHS Athletic Hall of Fame

8 years ago

Five inducted into PIHS Athletic Hall of Fame

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine At a ceremony held Jan. 15 at the Northeastland Hotel, the Presque Isle High School Athletic Hall of Fame grew by five as Don Kilpatrick, Dana Hews, Dr. Jack Belden, John Dean and Natasha Deschene all earned induction.


    Kilpatrick was inducted posthumously and was a 1938 PIHS graduate who died in battle during World War II. He was a baseball standout in high school but went on to play three sports at the University of Maine. He starred on the Black Bears’ baseball team and was known as one of the top defensive first baseman to suit up at UMaine.
In the military, he was a bomber pilot who carried a bat and glove with him every mission that he flew “as a reminder of better times.”
His niece, Deborah Kilpatrick, accepted his award after the presentation by hall of fame co-chair and local historian Jim Carter.
Hews, a Springfield College graduate, is known as one of the forefathers of the game of soccer in Aroostook County and was also presented by Carter, who noted his many achievements as the boys’ basketball coach. His 1960-61 Wildcat basketball team is referred by many as the most talented Presque Isle boys team in school history.
“I spent 26 years at the school that gave me many opportunities that came my way,” Hews said. “I never expected to be honored like this and am humbled and grateful.”
His lengthy career in education included positions of teacher, coach, guidance counselor, athletic director, principal and basketball official.
Belden was presented by Darren Carlisle, a former Wildcat hockey player and current varsity assistant coach at PIHS who outlined Belden’s contributions to the sport in the community and the school.
The Presque Isle orthodontist is known for organizing the effort to make hockey a varsity sport at Presque Isle during the 1991-92 season.
“It was just over 24 years ago when 20 skaters with a wide range of abilities played their first varsity hockey game in Orono,” Belden recalled, “but the inception began several years earlier. Fundraising ran the gamut, from bottle drives to pancake breakfasts to 50-50 drawings to sweatshirt sales — you name it, the Presque Isle youth hockey group did it.”
“Hockey is a unique sport and has changed the lives of many kids. Thank you to the committee for honoring hockey,” Belden added.
Presenter Dick Gardiner called Dean “a player coaches yearned to have play for them and one that fellow players wanted as a teammate.”
A 1978 graduate of Presque Isle High School, Dean was a great basketball and baseball player for the Wildcats who went on to a hall of fame career at UM-Farmington, playing both sports for the Beavers.
He spoke of the memories made growing up in Presque Isle and said he was thankful to be part of a community that supported its athletes. He recognized many of the teammates who helped make him the athlete he was.
Dean, a certified basketball official, lives in Portland and is a systems consultant at UNUM Life Insurance Company.
Deschene was the final inductee and her presenter, varsity girls’ basketball coach Jeff Hudson, said the 2005 graduate was a player he looked forward to seeing every day.
“She was incredibly competitive and certainly left her mark with teammates, coaches and fans,” he said.
Deschene stood out in all three sports for 12 consecutive sports seasons during her high school career, playing soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and tennis in the spring.
During her acceptance speech, she took the time to thank all her coaches and her many teammates, who she said “gave everything they had as part of some high-achieving teams.”
Finally, she extended appreciation to her family members, many of whom attended the ceremony, including cousins, uncles, her brothers and her parents, and relayed that their support was integral in her becoming the athlete she was.
Deschene went on to have a successful collegiate basketball career at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, where she now resides and works as an engineer.