Hunter to enter basketball shrine as “Legend of the Game”

6 years ago

CARIBOU, Maine — Dwight Hunter excelled in basketball as a student-athlete at Presque Isle High School, played at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, went on to coach varsity basketball at Caribou High School in the early- to mid-1960s and then became the school’s athletic director for 36 years.

In the latter role, he oversaw state basketball titles for both the boys (1969) and girls (1983) programs as well as numerous other competitive tournament teams, several of which captured Maine Principals’ Association Good Sportsmanship awards.

For those reasons and more, Hunter will be honored Sunday in Bangor by being inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame as a “Legend of the Game.”

The 81-year-old Hunter said he is humbled by the recognition and looks forward to the ceremony, which will be held at the Cross Insurance Center, the home of the hall of fame.

“I’ve always been pleased when County people get a statewide honor,” Hunter said. “We are far removed from the mainstream and sometimes you have to holler a little louder to get their attention.”

Hunter said he is most proud to be part of a hall of fame which also includes his late older brother, Gene, who was inducted as a coach in 2015. Gene Hunter coached Morse High School and South Portland to state championships in Maine and also won a state title in New Hampshire as the coach of Portsmouth HIgh School. He won 417 games during his 26-year coach tenure.

“He’s my mentor and taught me the fundamentals of basketball and life,” Hunter said.

Dwight Hunter joined the teaching staff at Caribou High School in 1961. He coached varsity basketball until 1967 and then became the athletic director, a position he served in until 2002.

He is a member of two other halls of fame — the Maine Sports Legends, which he entered in 2002, and the University of Maine at Presque Isle Athletic Hall of Fame, which he joined in 2008. He also was named to the Maine Principals’ Association Hall of Excellence in 2015.

Hunter gained a pair of national honors as an athletic director. He received the National Federation Citation Award in 1998 and the National Federation Distinguished Service Award in 2000.

Hunter received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association in 2002 and the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches Bob Brown Contributor Award in 2003. In 2007, the Eastern Maine Board of Approved Basketball Officials honored him with the Jim DiFrederico Award.

Hunter will be joined at the induction ceremony by his wife of 55 years, Nancy, and several family members. The Hunters have three children and nine grandchildren.