Tom Thornton's name has become synonymous with Cheverus High School athletics since he entered the Portland school as a freshman in 1960. A distinguished student-athlete at Cheverus and later a successful football coach, Thornton was inducted into the inaugural Cheverus High School Athletic Hall of Fame class in 2004.
Thornton was a three-time letter winner in football for the Stags and was quarterback and co-captain of the 1963 Cheverus squad. As a senior he was an All-State selection and received the A. Robert Couiri Memorial Trophy.
On the hardwood Thornton was a three-time varsity performer and co-captain of the 1963-1964 Cheverus team. Behind Thornton's leadership and outstanding play, the Stags won the Western Maine Class A championship. For his efforts, he was named winner of the George Vinall Trophy as the outstanding player/sportsman of the Western Maine tournament and was an All-State selection.
Thornton was also a four-year starter in baseball and was a member of the 1961 Cheverus team that finished the regular season as the only undefeated team in Telegram League history. Thornton was also selected as a Telegram League All-Star in 1964.
After graduating from Cheverus in 1964, Thornton moved on to Boston University where he was a three-year starter at quarterback. Teamed with future NFL star Reggie Rucker, Thornton proved to be one of the most prolific signal callers in Boston University football history. The 5'9" scrambler led the Terriers in passing and total offense for three consecutive seasons. Upon his graduation in 1968, his career passing mark of more than 2,000 yards and single-game yardage total of 260 were second only to the legendary B.U. All-American Harry Agganis in school history.
Thornton also played baseball at Boston University and earned three varsity letters. After leading the team in hitting with a .320 average while alternating among three middle infield positions as a sophomore, he shifted to left field as a junior and was a New England selection.
Thornton returned to Maine in 1968 and was a football coach at Lewiston High School between 1968 and 1974. After serving as an assistant football coach at Bates College for five seasons, he returned to Cheverus in 1984 as an assistant football coach under Dick White. The offensive coordinator for the Stags, Thornton directed the potent Cheverus scoring attack to a record ten touchdowns in a state championship victory over Lewiston in 1985.
The following season Thornton was promoted to head coach of the Stags and served in that capacity until 1998. During that time, his teams qualified for the Western Maine Class A playoffs on ten occasions. He ranks first in Cheverus history in career victories. In 2000 he returned as an assistant coach for the Stags and remained in that position until 2003.
Despite all of these accomplishments, Thornton still contends that his proudest achievement is having coached Little League baseball for 23 consecutive summers. He lives in South Portland and has three sons - Patrick, Tommy, and Timothy.
Maine Sports Hall of Fame
P.O. Box 2
Cumberland, ME 04021
Phone (207) 807-7666
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.