The M Club hosted the induction ceremony and dinner honoring the 2018 class of the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame on October 5, as standouts from baseball, football, basketball, track and field, men’s ice hockey, and athletic training joined the 195-member hall.
Honorees included John Gillette, a three-year letterman in both basketball and baseball; Ray Jacques, two-time men’s ice hockey captain; Jesse Labreck, 12-time America East track and field individual champion; Ron Lanza, a standout on legendary teams in both football and baseball; Mark “Rookie” Letendre, a highly regarded Major League Baseball athletic trainer; Bill Livesey, an all-conference baseball player and veteran of 30-plus years as an MLB executive and scout; Phil McGeoghan, a football standout and track and field record holder at Maine, and an NFL player and coach; Will Spencer, a multi-time Yankee Conference champion runner; Amy Vachon, a women’s basketball record holder and now UMaine head coach; and the 1964 baseball team that finished third in the College World Series and is the second team to be inducted as a team, following the 1993 NCAA champion hockey team, which was inducted last year.
The new Hall of Famers were selected by the M Club and approved by retired UMaine President Susan J. Hunter and Interim Athletic Director Jim Settele. The induction was held at the Black Bear Inn and Conference Center in Orono.
Gillette ’65 earned first team All-Yankee Conference honors as a senior and was named to the second team as a junior. He was also selected both seasons to the State Series first team. Gillette averaged a double-double with 19.6 points and 10.0 rebounds as a captain in 1964-65 and finished his career with 1,072 points in 62 games, averaging 17.3 points per game, fifth highest in UMaine history. Gillette also nabbed 632 career rebounds and is second on Maine’s all-time list with 10.2 per game. On the baseball diamond, Gillette was a first baseman on Maine’s ’64 College World Series team. A three-year letterman, Gillette boasted a .992 fielding percentage, making just one error in 126 chances. Gillette will be inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously after his passing on Oct. 21, 1996.
Jacques ’85 was Coach Shawn Walsh’s first captain. At right wing, Jacques led the Black Bears in scoring in two seasons while totaling 46 goals and 82 assists for 128 points in 125 career games. He was nominated for the Walter Brown award during his senior year, an accolade presented to the top New England born college hockey player. Following his collegiate career, Jacques served a short stint with the Detroit Red Wings.
Labreck graduated in 2013 as one of the most decorated track and field athletes in UMaine history. In addition to her 12 America East individual titles, she qualified for and competed in three NCAA Championships. At the time of her graduation, Labreck held nine UMaine records, boasting record marks in the indoor 60-meter hurdles, high jump and pentathlon while setting outdoor records in the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, triple jump and the heptathlon. Labreck currently holds the America East indoor record in the pentathlon, 60-meter hurdles and long jump. Following graduation, Labreck competed on the television show “American Ninja Warrior” where she became just the sixth woman in the show’s first nine years to complete a qualifying course.
Lanza ’66 was, like Gillette, a member of Maine’s 1964 College World Series baseball team, and helped the Black Bear football squad to a Yankee Conference title and a spot in the Tangerine Bowl in 1965. An outfielder, Lanza was the baseball team’s top RBI producer and earned first team All-New England and first team All-Yankee Conference honors. Following his career at Maine, Lanza was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the first-ever Major League Baseball draft. On the gridiron, Lanza was a co-recipient of the Harold Westerman award, presented to the team’s most valuable player. Lanza served as a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps where he earned two Purple Hearts and the Naval Commendation Medal for his bravery and dedication to his country in Vietnam.
Letendre ’78, served 18 years as an athletic trainer with the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees. Letendre, the longest tenured athletic trainer in Giants history (14 years), currently serves as the director of umpire medical services for Major League Baseball, a role he’s occupied since 2000. Throughout his career, Letendre was named to serve as the National League athletic trainer at the 1987 and 1994 MLB All-Star Games. In 2011, Letendre was honored with the prestigious Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society President’s Distinguished Service Award at the Baseball Winter Meetings. In 2014, he was the recipient of the President Abram W. Harris Outstanding Alumni Award by the University of Maine Foundation. Through Letendre’s vision and fundraising leadership efforts, the University of Maine was able to raise $875,000, which resulted in the Wes Jordan Athletic Training Education Complex.
Livesey ’62, a two-time, first-team All-Yankee Conference outfielder at UMaine, served as a captain during his senior season for head coach Jack Butterfield. Following his career at UMaine, Livesey enjoyed coaching stints at Worcester Academy, Brown University and Eckerd College along with an assistant coaching role with the Black Bears from 1966-68. In the summer months during his coaching career, Livesey managed in the Cape Cod League, capturing six league championships to earn an induction into the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame as both a manager and player in 2002. In 1977, Livesey was hired by Butterfield, then a vice president of the Yankees, as an amateur scout. Livesey spent 18 years with the Yankees, earning a promotion in 1990 to scouting director and a step-up to vice president of player development and scouting in 1992. In that role, he oversaw the draft and development of such players as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Bernie Williams. Following his time in New York, Livesey served as director of player personnel for the Tampa Bay Rays during 1995-2001 before two year stints with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets; acting as a special assistant to the general manager with both clubs. Livesey rounded out his career returning to the Yankees as a scout in 2008-09 before a one-year stop as a senior advisor to the general manager with the Pittsburgh Pirates. During his career, Livesey earned World Series rings in 1977, 1978 and 2009 and was honored with the George Genoese Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, presented by the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation.
McGeoghan ’08 spent four seasons in the NFL after an award winning football and track and field career at UMaine. One of the top receivers to ever play with the Black Bears, McGeoghan ranks fifth on UMaine’s all-time receiving yards list (2,343) and fifth in receptions (151). He was named the Jack Butterfield Offensive Player of the Year in 1999 and earned the Woody Carville Senior Achievement Award in 2000. McGeoghan set the UMaine indoor school record in the high jump with a leap of 7-feet even before earning individual titles in the event at the America East Championships in 1999 and 2000. On the outdoor circuit, McGeoghan again broke the school’s high jump mark, this time clearing 7’00.25, a mark that still stands today and a stood as the America East record for 13 years. McGeoghan captured the New England outdoor individual title in 1998 and 2000 while also earning the America East individual high jump championship in 2000. Following his time at UMaine, McGeoghan spent four seasons in the NFL, serving stints with the New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints. After his playing days, McGeoghan joined the coaching ranks beginning as the wide receivers and tight ends coach at UMaine. He went on to serve as a wide receivers coach at the University of South Florida and East Carolina along with stops with the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and now the Los Angeles Chargers.
Spencer ’61, was a six-time letter winner in indoor and outdoor track and a three-time Yankee Conference champion in the 880-yard event from 1959-61. An indoor captain during the 1960-61 season, Spencer set the UMaine and field house record in the 600-yard event (1:12.2) and was a member of UMaine’s record-setting 4×440-yard relay team. As an outdoor competitor, Spencer was a three-time State Series 880-yard run at the state meet from 1959-61, setting a UMaine and state record pace of 1:52.1. Outside of his athletic feats, Spencer was the president of his UMaine class in 1959, 1960 and 1961, a member of the Senior Skulls and President of the Undergraduate M Club. Spencer has an impressive 25-year career in the United State Army, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel. His time in the service included two tours in the Vietnam War, earning a Purple Heart, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and the Legion of Merit.
Vachon ’00, a two-time captain with the women’s basketball team, helped guide the Black Bears to four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and was the point guard for the squad that knocked off Stanford in the first round of the 1999 NCAA Tournament. Maine compiled an 87-35 record and captured back-to-back America East Championships in 1997 and ’98 with Vachon at the point. Inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2016, Vachon holds Maine records for most assists in a season (234) and the Maine and America East record for career assists (759). Vachon rejoined the Black Bears as an assistant coach in 2011, was promoted to associate head coach in May of 2016, and was named interim head coach in January of 2017 before signing a four-year head coaching extension in March of 2018. Under her leadership, the Black Bears captured the 2018 America East Championship to earn a trip back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004. For her efforts, Vachon was named the America East Coach of the Year.
The 1964 University of Maine baseball team will forever be remembered as one of the most accomplished teams in Black Bear history. Under Jack Butterfield’s leadership, the Black Bears captured the Yankee Conference championship, defeated Northeastern in the District One playoffs before advancing to Maine’s first-ever NCAA College World Series appearance. The Black Bears advanced to the final round of the World Series, along the way defeating national power Southern California, defending national champion Arizona State, and Seton Hall. Pitcher Joe Ferris went undefeated in three NCAA games and was named the College World Series Most Valuable Player. Captain and third baseman David Thompson hit safely in every game and joined Ferris on the All-College World Series team. Overall, the Black Bears finished the season 21-8 and were represented on the Yankee Conference All-Conference team by Dick DeVarney, Lanza and Ferris.