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News from the Maine Sports Hall of Fame
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Carl "Stump" Merrill, former manager of the New York Yankees, will be the guest at a Maine Sports Hall of Fame gathering from 6-8 pm on Thursday, November 7 at the Holiday Inn at 404 Odlin Road in Bangor. The meet and greet is free and open to all members of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and their guests.
Merrill, special assistant to the general manager of the Yankees, managed the Yankees in 1990-'91 and guided minor league teams for decades. He graduates from Brunswick High School and the University of Maine, where he caught for the 1964 College World Series team before playing in the minors. Merrill is a 1992 Maine Sports Hall of Fame inductee. This past June, he was also inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame for his officiating skills.
Dick Whitmore is president of the maine Sports Hall of Fame, which was established in 1972. The MSHoF gives scholarships to outstanding Maine high school scholar-athletes and honors Maine athletes and sports figures who have brought distinction and honor to the state. For information on the MSHoF and becoming a member, visit ourdonations and membership page. In addition, nominations for 2014 inductees and student-athlete scholarship recipients are being accepted. Nomination forms may be downloaded from our nominations page.
The meet and greet is free and open to all members of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and their guests.
Merrill, who managed the Yankees in 1990-"91 and guided minor league teams for decades, is now special assistant to the general manager of the Yankees. Merrill graduated from Brunswick High School and the University of Maine, where he caught for the 1964 College World Series team. After playing baseball for several years in the minors, managing became his passion. Merrill is a 1992 Maine Sports Hall of Fame inductee. This past June, he was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame for his officiating skills.
For information on becoming a member of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, visit our membership page. Nominations for 2014 inductees and student-athlete scholarship recipients are being accepted; nomination forms may be downloaded here.
Lisa C. Hook, senior vice president at People's United Bank in Portland, has been elected to the board of directors of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, a state-wide organization established in 1972. The directors administer a scholarship program honoring outstanding Maine high school scholar-athletes and an annual induction of athletes and sports figures who have brought distinction and honor to Maine.
In her position at People's United Bank, Hook, with 25 years of diversified commercial banking experience in credit and sales, has won the Corporate Sales Achievement Award for two consecutive years and the CEO's Leadership Award.
Her other board memberships include: CEI Capital Management - currently serving advice chair and investment committee chair; Spring Harbor Hospital; and, Risk Management Association, Maine Chapter. She participated in Leadership Maine (nu class) and coaches youth athletics in Yarmouth.
Hook is a graduate of Houlton High School, where she was a three-sport athlete - the first girl in her high school class to score 1,000 points and All-State in soccer and basketball. She graduated third in her class of 136, and was the recipient of a Maine Sports Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Scholarship.
At Colby College, Hook continued her athletic and academic achievements. She was selected GTE Academic All-American in basketball and graduated in 1988 Cum Laude in 1988 with Phi Beta Kappa distinction.
She began her corporate career with Fleet National Bank in Rhode Island, transferring within the company to Maine in 1992. Hook lives in Yarmouth with her husband Jeff and 12-year-old son James.
Click here to download the nomination forms.
The 2014 Maine Sports Hall of Fame Banquet will be held at the Augusta Civic Center on Sunday, May 4, 2014 starting at noon.
Robert E. Hews , Portland, received the Distinguished American Award May 22 from the State of Maine Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame as part of ceremonies at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.
Richard L. Whitmore, Waterville, President of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame June 22 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA.
Hews was a standout lineman at South Portland High and at Princeton where he was All-Ivy League and honorable mention All-American. Drafted in the sixth round by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1970, he also played for the Buffalo Bills in 1971.
Hews was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Whitmore was head coach of men's basketball at Colby College 1971-2011. His career record, 637-341, ranked seventh among NCAA Division III men's basketball coaches. At the 2012 Final Four, Whitmore was honored as recipient of the Division III Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
A 1965 graduate of Bowdoin, Whitmore scored more than 1,000 points for the Polar Bears. He was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
Also inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame with Whitmore (Icon Category) was Whitmore's son, Kevin (Division III players) and Whitmore's cousin, the late Eddie Griffin (contributor).
Also inducted were the following inductees of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame:
- Art Dyer 'll; Roger Reed, '06; (high school coach, boys)
- Emily Ellis '12 (Ronald S. Perry Category, women)
- William Cohen '13 (scholar-athlete)
- George Hale '09 (media)
- Carl Merrill '92 (referee)
- Joanne Mc Callie '08
- Edward "Bo" Mac Farland '93 (Icons)
Wilson, who was inducted May 20, 2012, pleaded no contest to one count of possession of sexually explicit material in May, 2013. A judge then found him guilty of the crime.
The Maine Sports Hall of Fame takes great pride in formally honoring and memorializing Maine athletes and sports figures who have brought distinction and specialty to the state of Maine.
The MSHOF has long been a bastion of celebration and generosity. Since 1972, it has honored great athletes and provided more than $1 million in scholarship funds to the best of Maine's scholar-athletes.
The Maine Sports Hall of Fame will continue to do its best to select and honor athletes of excellence who bring pride to the great state of Maine.
KIMBERLY J. ALLEN: Director of Athletics at the University of New England in Biddeford, she is a graduate of Douglass College, Rutgers University. She earned a Master's degree at Springfield College and assumed her present duties in January, 2006. Prior to her appointment at UNE, Allen served as Associate Director of Athletics at Smith College in Northampton, MA and Rutgers. As an undergraduate at Rutgers, she was captain of the varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams.
DARYL FORT: A 1992 graduate of the University of Maine with a B.A. in political science, Fort is a community development consultant and gender violence prevention educator. Since 2011, Fort has served as lead trainer for the U.S. Navy's MVP (Mentors in Violence Prevention) training program. For 14 years Fort was a public policy advisor to Congressman and Governor John Baldacci. He has worked with athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.
NANCY L. STOREY: Executive Director of the Maine State Golf Association, Inc. since 1997, Storey is responsible for $1.1 million non-profit organization. During her tenure the MSGA Scholarship Fund has expanded to contributing more than $40,000 annually to Maine students. She previously managed the Biddeford-Saco Country Club and the Val Halla Golf and Recreation Center. Storey graduated with High Distinction from the University of Maine's journalism program.
John Coombs and John Wise were two of his early influences at the YMCA.
Cohen, who was one of 10 inductees into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame at the Augusta Civic Center Sunday afternoon, went on to become a basketball star at Bangor High and Bowdoin College before launching a law career and remarkable political career.
The former Maine senator, who was a Republican, was appointed as Secretary of Defense by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.
Following Cohen's Hall of Fame acceptance speech, a videotape message from Clinton was shown to the 750 attendees. Clinton said the work ethic and lessons Cohen learned from growing up in Maine and being an athlete were valuable in his political career.
"It all started with a two-handed set shot," said Clinton.
Cohen, like the other inductees, said lessons learned as an athlete are important in overall development. "You've got to have discipline yourself. It's a lot of hard work," said Cohen. "You have to prepare yourself. You have to practice. There are rules that have to be followed. Referees will call fouls if you violate the rules," said Cohen, a former mayor of Bangor before becoming a U.S. congressman and senator. "There's the joy of winning. There's the sadness when you lose. "But they are all the emotions you'll come to know during your lifetime. They apply to every facet of your life. So everything I've applied in sports I've applied to every facet of my life. It's a great foundation."
He said his parents used to take him to Bangor High School basketball games at the old Bangor Auditorium where he would idolize players like Danny Drinon and aspire to follow in their footsteps.
Four of Sunday's inductees stamped their tickets into the Hall as legendary coaches, including three who are still coaching.
Skowhegan field hockey coach Paula Doughty, a two-time national high school coach of the year, has won 14 State Class A championships including 11 over the last 12 seasons; Cheverus High School of Portland football coach John Wolfgram has guided four schools (Madison High, Gardiner, South Portland and Cheverus) to 10 football state championships, and he owns the state's two longest winning streaks in Class A at 34 (Cheverus) and 31 (South Portland); Gary Fifield has a 628-115 record as the women's basketball coach at the University of Southern Maine and former Cony High of Augusta coach and current Cony AD Paul Vachon led his Rams to seven state Class A championships and posted a record of 451-40.
Another inductee was Newburgh's Ricky Craven, one of 22 race car drivers who has won in all three of NASCAR's major series: Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck. Craven is currently an ESPN NASCAR analyst.
Also inducted were former University of Maine two-way football standout and American Football League quarterback Manch Wheeler; Robert Russo, the owner of the Portland Boxing Club and 2008 USA Boxing/New England Coach of the Year; former Mr. World AAU Body Building champion John Robinson and Doug Brown, the former medical consultant/physician for the United States national soccer teams including the 1999 Women's World Cup champion team.
Wolfgram said there are several keys to being a successful coach. "You've got to love working with kids," said Wolfgram. "You have to have certain philosophy you believe in. There are a lot of different philosophies. Your philosophy has to work and if it works, you can get the kids to buy into it. You also have to adjust to the times," he said. "Keep common values that you believe in, but adjust with the times."
He also said you have to "highlight your best athletes and let them win for you," play physical football on both sides of the ball and focus on fundamentals.
Wolfgram called his fellow inductees "a remarkable group" and said they cover a "huge spectrum" of the sports world from a race car driver to a Mr. World.
During his speech, Vachon was overwhelmed by emotion and wept on several occasions as he reflected on his career, thanked players, assistants, administrators and his family members as well as the Hall. And he elated with having the ceremony in his home city, which he called a "great city." He also earned a huge laugh from the audience when he talked about how his mother-in-law, Pat, thought he should have continued working for Central Maine Power rather than becoming a coach. "CMP doesn't have a Hall of Fame, Pat," he quipped.
Craven said he has had a "great life" and also got a big laugh when he corrected an error. He was seriously injured when he hit the wall during qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway and was airlifted to a Dallas hospital.
"My wife (K.K.) was six months old," began Craven who quickly corrected himself. "My wife was six months pregnant," said Craven before quickly adlibbing, "You've got to understand I hit some concrete walls during my career."
Craven, like many of the other inductees, paid homage to his spouse for running the family while he was living out his dream. "She is an amazing mother," said Craven who also said his mother Nancy's own determination and willingness to embrace challenges rubbed off on him.
"She has beaten cancer twice. Her attitude was 'C'mon, bring it on,'" he said.
Brown thanked former Colby College, University of Maine and Husson University baseball coach John Winkin for the life lessons he learned from him when he coached his Waterville American Legion team pertaining to dedication, preparation and mental attitude.
Winkin was in attendance with son, David.
"He said I believe in you," said Brown.
Craven said it was a memorable night. "It was as enjoyable experience as I've ever had," said Craven who added that he cherished getting to know the other inductees as well as Hall President Dick Whitmore.
Whitmore, who wore a Tide hat representing Craven's primary sponsor at one time before introducing him, turned in an exceptional performance as the emcee, interspersing humor and a healthy knowledge of each of the inductees.
Five high school student-athletes received $5,000 scholarships from the Hall for their athletic and academic achievements and community involvement: Waterville High's Georgia Bolduc, John Bapst of Bangor's Adrienne Carmack, Falmouth's Caitlin Buckbaum, Leavitt High of Turner's Madeline Wiegman and Forest Hills of Jackman's Evan Worster.
Richard Austin received a distinguished achievement award.
Richard L. Whitmore, President of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame said, "This is a most significant induction for our organization. The life and career of Secretary Cohen are a heartening testimonial to hard work, competitiveness and capability. The Secretary has graciously accepted the honor. We are delighted to add his name to the impressive list of men and women who comprise one of the most outstanding Hall of Fame induction rosters anywhere."
As a legendary athlete in basketball and baseball at Bangor High School, Cohen was an All-State selection in basketball and a standout pitcher for the Rams.
At Bowdoin College, Cohen continued his career in basketball. He was team captain, an All-State Series selection and among the outstanding college players of the era. He graduated from Bowdoin in 1962.
The signature move for Cohen was his quick release two-hand set shot that confounded opponents at each level.
Always a scholar, Cohen earned a Juris Doctor degree at the Boston University School of Law in 1965. He then launched a storied political career, starting with election as Mayor of Bangor. He was a three-term Congressman, three-term Senator and Secretary of Defense under President Clinton. Among the many honors related to his service is the "TEDDY" award presented by the NCAA to leaders in the United States who have excelled in all aspects of their lives at the highest level. Five U.S. Presidents have received this prestigious distinction.
Also, Secretary Cohen was named to the Silver Anniversary Five of the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 1987 with John Havlicek, Billy Packer, Terry Dischinger and Dave DeBusscherre.
The 2013 induction ceremony and banquet will begin promptly at noon. Tickets are available from the Maine Sports Hall of Fame website ticket area or by calling Kelly Pinney at 207-680-6914.
In addition to Secretary Cohen, other members of the induction class previously announced are Douglas Brown, MD, Rickey Craven, Paula Doughty, Gary Fifield, Skip Robinson, Bob Russo, Paul Vachon, Manchester Wheeler and John Wolfgram.
Editor's Note: For additional details contact Richard L. Whitmore, President of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, 207-649-9367, email@example.com.
The Maine Sports Hall of Fame is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.
Inductees are: Douglas W. Brown, M.D., Portland; Richard (Ricky) A. Craven, Concord, North Carolina; Paula C. Doughty, Farmington; Gary B. Fifield, Buxton; John (Skip) U. Robinson, Windham; Robert Russo, Portland; Paul M. Vachon, Augusta; Manchester H. Wheeler, Brewer; and John C. Wolfgram, South Portland.
Also, five scholar-athletes will be honored as recipients of $5,000 scholarships: Georgia Bolduc, Waterville High School; Caitlin Bucksbaum, Falmouth High School; Adrienne Carmack, John Bapst Memorial High School; Madeline Wiegman, Leavitt Area High School; and Evan Worster, Forest Hills Consolidated School.
Richard G. Austin, Rumford, will receive the outstanding achievement award. Tickets are $40 for members of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and $45 for non-members. A reserved table for 10 is $400. Tickets may be purchased until April 27. A social hour is scheduled for 11 a.m. The dinner buffet will begin promptly at noon.
Make checks payable to the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. To purchase tickets online, visit www.mshof.com and click on the Banquet Tickets link.
Douglas W. Brown, M.D. -- A specialist in sports medicine, Brown has served as medical consultant to U.S. national soccer teams. From 1994-2000 he was head team physician for the U.S. women's national team. A native of Waterville, Brown is a 1968 graduate of Bowdoin College where he captained the hockey team.
Richard (Ricky) A. Craven -- NASCAR driver and ESPN analyst, Craven began racing at the age of 15 at Unity Raceway. Named Busch North Rookie of the Year in 1990, Craven was also honored in 1995 as NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie the Year. In more than 11 years of competition, he participated in 278 races.
Paula C. Doughty -- Field hockey coach at Skowhegan for 31 seasons, Doughty has compiled a record of 438-80-17, including 11 state Class A titles in 12 years. Twice, in 2004 and 2008, she was honored as National High School Coach of the Year. Skowhegan's 2012 team (18-0) outscored its opponents 147-2. Skowhegan has won 54 consecutive games.
Gary B. Fifield -- Women's basketball coach at the University of Southern Maine, Fifield holds the NCAA Ddivision III record with 30 consecutive years of 20 or more wins. At the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season, he had the highest winning percentage (84.2) among NCAA Division III women's basketball coaches with five or more seasons of service. His record was 601-113.
John U. Robinson -- A national and international power lifting and body-building champion, Robinson has dedicated his life to promoting health and physical fitness. In 1986 he won Mr.World, AAU Body Building Championship (1st place short height class). Why did he start lifting weights? "I got tired of being skinny," Robinson said.
Robert Russo -- Owner of the Portland Boxing Club since the early 1990s, Russo has been selected 14 times as coach for Team New England. He twice served as coach of Regional Team #1 in Lake Placid, N.Y. -- an area encompassing New England, New York and New Jersey. In 2008 he was selected as Coach of the Year for USA Boxing/New England.
Paul M. Vachon -- Starting point guard in 1973 for Cony High School's state Class A championship team, Vachon was coach of varsity girls' basketball at Cony 1985-2008. His teams compiled a record of 451-40, a winning percentage of 91.1. Cony won seven state Class A championships and 11 Eastern Maine titles. Since his retirement from coaching, Vachon has served as athletic administrator at Cony.
Manchester H. Wheeler -- A two-way standout at quarterback and safety at the University of Maine 1958-1961, Wheeler led the Black Bears in total offense in his junior and senior years. In his final season, Wheeler averaged 10.09 yards per carry. Drafted by the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League, he also played for the Boston Patriots.
John C. Wolfgram -- Wolfgram-coached high school football teams have won 10 gold balls: one at Madison, Class C; three at Gardiner, Class B; four at South Portland, Class A; and two at Cheverus, Class A. Over a span of three seasons, 2010-2012, Cheverus established a state Class A record of 34 consecutive wins. The previous record was 31 by South Portland 1995-1997 when Wolfgram headed the program.
Georgia Bolduc is a standout track-and-field athlete who is one of the lynchpins for Waterville High School's outstanding program. She has set four school and one state record in indoor and outdoor track and has been a team captain for two seasons. An accomplished gymnast, Georgia won state championships in 2010 and 2011 and the Northeast Regional title last year.
Caitlin Bucksbaum is one of the state's premier girls soccer playersand has helped propel Falmouth High School to two consecutive Class B state championships. She has been both a Western Maine Conference and a Portland Press Herald all-star and was named as the Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year in 2012. She is a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year who plans to attend Villanova University in the fall of 2013.
Adrienne Carmack is a standout in cross country, swimming and outdoor track at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor. She has qualified for the New England Cross Country championships in all four seasons in high school and has finished in the top ten in both the regional and state meets during that time. A first-team all-star in the competitive Penobscot Valley Conference, she helped lead the Crusaders to two regional titles and one state championship.
Madeline Wiegman has been a standout in cross country and Nordic skiing during her four years at Leavitt Area High School in Turner. A team captain for the Hornets in cross country and skiing, she has also been a first-team all-conference selection in both sports and helped lead her team to a Class A Nordic ski title in 2012. Madeline was also an individual state champion in the Nordic Ski Classic during her junior year.
Evan Worster is one of the most prolific scorers in Maine schoolboy basketball and has rewritten the record books at Forest Hills Consolidated School in Jackman. Evan has logged over 1000 career points and set a Western Maine Class D tournament record with 51 points and 21 field goals in one game in 2012. He is an All-Conference performer in both baseball and golf and was selected East-West Conference Player of the Year in golf as a sophomore.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Richard G. Austin -- Competing in the World Bench Press and Dead Lift Championships November 13 in Las Vegas the 81-year-old Austin won his eighth world title in the 220-pound Master Division class for power lifters ranging in age 80-84. He also broke the world record for bench-pressing in his age category by benching 363 pounds. He was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
Trafton explained that earlier in the week, Maine Sports Hall of Fame president Richard Whitmore nominated Austin for the achievement during a board meeting. "I mean, it's pretty evident why he's being honored," Trafton said. "The guy's won world championships and is breaking world records in his eighties. He's an incredible person with a good spirit."
Hall of Fame secretary Stuart Infantine said that there's no official nomination process for an outstanding achievement award. "This specific award is predicated on what Mr. Austin did in Las Vegas," Infantine said, referring to last month, when Austin competed at the World Bench Press and Dead Lift Championships in Las Vegas and subsequently won his eighth world title in the 220-pound class Master Division, for powerlifters ranging in age from 80 to 84. During the same competition, he also broke the world record for bench pressing in his age category by benching 363 pounds.
"There's nobody in the state who's doing what Austin does," Infantine said, before adding, "Actually I don't think there's anyone in the country who's doing what he's doing. Whitmore agreed and said that Austin is "a pioneer in his sport" and has "remained a point of excellence throughout his career. It was difficult for me to envision the level of success he's had until he told me he's never not come in first," Whitmore said. "I mean, I don't know if there's anybody in any sport who can claim that besides him."
Austin, who is on the board of directors for the Hall of Fame, said that he takes it in stride when he receives such recognition. "Look, I appreciate them thinking of me that way, don't get me wrong," Austin said. "I'm honored, but for me, it's not about the awards. It's all about the competition." Austin later said that he's been fortunate enough to "win, win, win, win," and that by now, "the awards feel second nature."
"The board asked me to write down all of the achievements and awards I've been given over the years," Austin said, "and I wrote down the ones I could think of, but honestly, I just can't remember them all. I've been doing this all my life. There's too many."
Austin is set to have a busy year in 2013. Besides receiving the outstanding achievement award in May, he will be competing Feb. 2 in the Winter Classic in Portland, and in June, he'll be competing in June to qualify for Nationals. "The national competition is what I'm exclusively training for right now," Austin said. "I'm planning to bench-press 402 pounds. I'll be so far ahead of the competition. No one's even touching 300 pounds right now in my group. If I didn't lift weights and somebody told me someone in their 80's was lifting over 400 pounds, I wouldn't believe it."
While Austin says it's all about the competition for him, Infantine and the rest of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame are adamant that Austin receive the recognition. "Richard has a long history with us at the Maine Sports Hall of Fame," Infantine said. "He deserves to be recognized for what he's done and is still doing."
Austin, 81, a native of Rumford, competed in the 220-pound class Master Division for powerlifters ranging in age from 80 to 84. In addition to his first-place win, Austin also broke the world record for bench pressing in his age category by benching 363 pounds. He also owned the previous record, 352 pounds.
After the competition, he was inducted into the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1999, and the Rumford Wall of Fame in 2009.
Austin began his weight-lifting career in 1947. He trains two hours a day, three days a week. Next up is a regional competition February 2 in Portland followed by a national competition in June. His goal is to bench press 402 pounds.
He has no plans to retire. "I love lifting weights," he said. "I'm doing this until I can't anymore."
Gregg is a founding member of Taylor, McCormack and Frame, LLC focusing his practice in the area of labor and employment law, business development and civil litigation.
A native of Waterville, Gregg is a graduate of Waterville High School, Phillips Exeter Academy and Dartmouth College. At Dartmouth Gregg was a four-year starter in basketball and an All-Ivy League selection. A cum laude graduate of the University of Maine School of Law and a White House intern, Gregg was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame as a scholar-athlete. Gregg now resides in Cape Elizabeth, is involved with the Cape youth sports program and many local charitable initiatives.
President Dick Whitmore is very enthusiastic about Gregg's addition to the Board. "Gregg will add energy, vitality and an impeccable background in Sports and Athletics. The Board is fortunate to have him with us and I look forward to great contributions."
That was in in 1985. Effective September 1, 2012, Trafton became the first incumbent of a new position in the administrative structure in the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Richard L. Whitmore, President of MSHOF, said Trafton will serve as Executive Director with responsibility for annual memberships, sponsorships, banquet, and fundraising.
"This position was created by the Board of Directors as part of a continuing effort to maintain and strengthen our scholarship program and other elements central to the growth of our financial profile," Whitmore said.
"Thaxter's background in high administrative levels in sports organizations across the country, and especially in Maine, identifies naturally with the broad requirements outlined by the directors."
A director of MSHOF beginning in 2006, Trafton has served as Second Vice President since 2010. Whitmore said Trafton will resign from the Board, but will participate in all directors' meetings and work closely with committee members.
Trafton was born in Danforth, about 25 miles south of Houlton. He moved to Bath with his family at the age of four and graduated from Morse High School in 1955. He won varsity letters in football, basketball, and baseball. In basketball, Trafton was named to the Western Maine tournament team coached by the late Gene Hunter.
"He was a lot more than my coach," remembers Trafton. "He was my mentor. I idolized him. I really loved that man."
After graduating from Husson College, Trafton began his professional career as a teacher and basketball coach at John Bapst. His first team was 4-16. The following year it advanced to the Eastern Maine final, where it lost to unbeaten Stearns by one point.
From 1965-1980, Trafton served as executive director of Bass Park Complex in Bangor, then moved on to Phoenix to head the Arizona State Fair and Veterans Coliseum. Next stop was Cleveland, where he was president of the Cavaliers with responsibility for all basketball operations and the 20,000-seat Richfield Stadium.
He hired Wayne Embry as general manager and Lenny Wilkins as head coach. "Two great hires," said Trafton who remembers his four years with the team with great fondness.
Trafton wasn't done with basketball when he left Cleveland, serving as President and Commissioner of the International Basketball League headquartered in Baltimore. For the next couple of years he was chief administrative officer of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority.
In 2003 Trafton returned to Maine as Director of Business Development and eventually Commissioner of Economic & Community Development in the cabinet of Governor John Baldacci.
Trafton is a 2003 inductee of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. He lives in Augusta with his wife, the former Linda Pinney of Cleveland.