The Star-Herald

County trio among those to be inducted in Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honors

BREWER, Maine – Three Aroostook County natives are among those being honored this weekend with their induction into the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honors.

John Plourde, Monica Bearden and Ron Ericson have been chosen for induction and will be honored Sunday with a banquet at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.

Plourde has been a principal, teacher and a coach during his 35 years in education. He was an athlete at Caribou High School and the University of Maine Presque Isle.

At Caribou High School, Plourde played varsity soccer, basketball and baseball all four years. In both basketball and baseball he was selected County All Star as a senior. 

In college, Plourde played varsity baseball and continued after college playing baseball in the New Brunswick Senior League. Plourde coached Caribou Little League, youth soccer at the Caribou Recreation Department. 

John Plourde

He also coached at the Caribou Middle School in basketball and soccer and at Caribou High School in girls soccer and boys tennis. 

While coaching at Caribou Plourde’s girls soccer team were Class A Eastern Maine and State Champions in 1982. 

“John was a true educator in every sense of the word, showing his skills not only within the school buildings, but also in the gym and playing fields at our schools,” said Dwight Hunter, former athletic administrator at Caribou. “He used these skills in his officiating career at many State Championship games.”

When Plourde relocated to Hampden, he continued his coaching career for eight years, coaching varsity boys tennis with his team winning Eastern Maine Class A Championship in 1999. 

Plourde was an IAABO Basketball Official for 39 years in Maine and one year in North Carolina where he currently lives. 

While he was an official in Maine he served as an assignor for Board No. 150 for six years and officiated many Maine High School boys championship games. He was also a high school and college volleyball official and has officiated Volleyball State Championship games. John still continues his officiating volleyball in North Carolina. 

In retirement, he and his wife, Alverna, live in North Carolina where they enjoy activities playing pickleball, golf, tennis, biking and playing bridge. They have one daughter living in New Hampshire and one son who is deceased along with six grandchildren.

Bearden graduated from Van Buren District High School where she was an outstanding athlete in basketball, volleyball and softball. While playing on the varsity basketball team for Van Buren she helped lead the Crusaders to the State Championship title in Class B in 1977.

Monica Bearden

She received Eastern Maine Class Basketball All-Tournament Team and the Bangor Daily All-Maine Girls Basketball Team, second squad. She carried over these skills in her coaching career at the University of Maine Presque Isle in soccer and basketball.

While at UMPI coaching basketball, Bearden received the Co-Coach award from the Maine Association of Intercollegiate Athletes in 1990. 

At SAD 1, Bearden Monica was the assistant girls varsity basketball, sub-varsity soccer, softball and volleyball coach. Today, she is the girls varsity tennis coach and the Presque Isle Middle School girls soccer coach. As the assistant girls varsity basketball coach, the Presque Isle girls varsity team won the Class B State Championship. 

“Monica cares deeply for the well being of students in teaching and coaching,” said Frank Keenan, former SAD 1 athletic administrator and principal at Presque Isle High School. “As a valued teacher and coach with unquestioned integrity during her professional career. She has been a wonderful ambassador for SAD 1 and for athletics in Maine as a physical education teacher and coach.”

Bearden graduated from University of Maine Orono with a teaching degree in physical education. She started teaching for six years in Van Buren and is currently teaching and coaching in SAD 1 with a position in physical education at Zippel Elementary School.

Bearden has volunteered in the community on the Aroostook County Cancer Board, as a church lecturer and a religious education instructor. In her free time she plays golf and watches professional golf, along with the New England Patriots, the Boston Red Sox and college basketball.

Bearden and her daughter travel during vacation time and she enjoys time with her family, especially her parents who still live in Van Buren and her daughter, Brittany, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia and is a certified athletic trainer.

Ericson has been a teacher, coach and principal in the Washburn school system, along with being a member of the Northern Maine Softball Umpires Association and the Northern Maine Soccer Officials. 

Ron Ericson

He is now the assistant principal/athletic director at Washburn, along with being the part-time color commentator for WAGM Basketball Live Streaming. He graduated from Caribou High School where he was an athlete in varsity soccer, baseball and manager in varsity basketball.

At University of Maine Presque Isle, receiving his bachelor’s degree, Ericson was active in the Intramural Program. He also received his master’s degree from the University of Southern Maine.

While teaching at Washburn Middle School, Ericson coached Middle School boys basketball and initiated a Middle School girls basketball team and a Middle School intramural program. In later years, he also coached Middle School boys soccer and baseball.

Starting in 1983, Ericson coached the Washburn girls varsity basketball team for 14 years and then recently returned to coach for six more years. He also coached girls varsity soccer for more than 20 years. While coaching girls varsity basketball, his teams won the Class C State Championship in 1985 and the Class D State Championship in 1986, 1988 and 1989 and were the Regional runners-up in 1990 and 2007. 

He was also named IAABO Girls Basketball Coach of the Year in 1985 and the MABC Class D Coach of the Year in 1989. In 1989 his Girls Basketball team went to Europe for a trip for competition with club teams from England and Belgium. 

In the summers, Ericson coached at the Star City Basketball Camp, the Aroostook Basketball Camp and the University of Maine at Orono Basketball Camp.

Presently, Ericson is on the Aroostook League of Athletic Administrators and was recognized in 2012 for Outstanding Service to the Aroostook League. He is also serving on the Maine Interscholastic Administrators Board of Directors, the Maine Principals Association Basketball Committee, the Cross-Country Committee and the Sportsmanship Committee. During his time on the Sportsmanship Committee, the MPA adopted the current practice of awarding Sportsmanship Banners in every Interscholastic high school sport.

“The impact that Ron has had on our community has been enormous with tireless devotion to the school,” said Aaron Turner, a former athlete who lives in Washburn. “Whenever he sees a need for anyone in the school, he works hard to meet that need. He truly is the heart of Washburn School and the athletic program. He has been a devoted educator, coach and now, back as one of the school’s leaders.” 

Ericson lives in Washburn with his wife Patty and son Michael and step-children Kyle, Cameron and Paige. He is learning to play golf and enjoys bird hunting and fishing. He enjoyed watching his children play sports and the family spends time at the family camp.

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