In recent years the New England Patriots have captured the imagination of football fans from throughout the northeast who have claimed the team as their own. Over four decades ago, Mainers could boast that that one of their own was on the roster of the region's American Football League entry. David Cloutier of Gardiner roamed the defensive secondary of the fledgling Boston Patriots, the forerunner of the current NFL franchise.
Cloutier's athletic career began in the Pine Tree State when he competed in football, basketball, and track and field at Gardiner Area High School. Cloutier was a three-year letter winner for the Gardiner football team, where he played left halfback on offense and as a safety on defense. Cloutier's high school teams were 22-1-1 in his three seasons and were State Class B titlists in 1954 and 1955. Cloutier scored a school-record 114 points to lead the state and was named an All-State player by both the Bangor Daily News and the Portland Press Herald. For his exploits The Sporting News named the Tiger standout as a fifth team back on its high school All-American team.
Cloutier also starred for the Gardiner Tiger basketball team and was named an All-State performer during his senior year. Cloutier also was a standout jumper and hurdler for the Gardiner outdoor track team and set a state high school javelin record as a senior. He was second in the state in four events (javelin, broad jump, high jump, high hurdles) and was named to the Kennebec Valley and state All-Star squads.
After fielding a number of offers from top Division I schools, Cloutier accepted a scholarship to the University of South Carolina. After starting as a halfback and safety for the South Carolina freshman team, he transferred to the University of Maine. As a sophomore in 1959 he started at running back in Coach Harold Westerman's wing T offense and led the Maine State Series in rushing yardage. He was selected to the All-Maine, All-Yankee Conference, and Little All-American teams.
Cloutier returned from an injury-plagued junior season to serve as co-captain of Maine's undefeated (8-0-1) team in 1961. Behind Cloutier's leadership and running prowess, the Black Bears captured both the State Series and the Yankee Conference crowns. Upon his graduation in 1962 he ranked as the seventh highest scorer in Black Bear history with 92 points.
Cloutier was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League and the Buffalo Bills of the rival American Football League. He signed a contract with the latter, but an ankle injury in his first year forced him to leave the team. Cloutier returned to Maine and taught science and coached football at Kennebunk High School, where he compiled an 11-5 mark in two seasons.
After playing one season of semi-pro football with the Portland Sea Hawks, he signed a contract with the Boston Patriots in 1964 and started nine games at free safety. Cloutier also led the team in punt returns with 146 yards and appeared in the AFL divisional championship game against Buffalo. After the season he was waived to the expansion Miami Dolphins, but elected to retire from professional football.
After a career in real estate, Cloutier retired and now lives in Palm Coast, Florida.
Maine Sports Hall of Fame
P.O. Box 2619
South Portland, ME 04116
Phone (207) 272-2178
The Maine Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1972 for the purpose of: 1) appointing and bestowing recognition awards and scholarships to outstanding Maine high school scholar-athletes; and, 2) to formally honor and memorialize Maine athletes and sports figures who have brought distinction and honor to the state of Maine.