September 19, 2012

UMPI Honors 2012 Athletics' Hall of Fame Class

(PRESQUE ISLE, ME) --  The University of Maine-Presque Isle athletics' department inducted three new members to its Hall of Fame last weekend during the school's Homecoming 2012 events.

Shawn Windle

Shawn Windle’s career as a student-athlete at UMPI was short-lived.  Yet he would go on to have arguably the biggest impact on sports at the high collegiate and professional level than any other student to walk through Weiden Hall. 

By the time Shawn came to UMPI he had been to other colleges and tried other career paths.  However it was at UMPI that he found a way to combine his love of sports with a fulfilling career.  By the accounts of many that he played with, Shawn was a great teammate, always concerned with helping make the team better.  He brought those traits with him into athletic training and strength and conditioning.  The result was a drive to constantly educate himself on how to get the players he was working with better. 

A testament to the success Shawn has had since first arriving at UMPI can best be told by those he came in contact with, who clamoured for the opportunity to relay to tonight’s attendees the impact he had.

My friend, Shawn Windle was not only a great role player on some of UMPI’s greatest basketball teams, but most significantly he was a great TEAM man.  Sheer numbers will not convey Shawn’s abilities as a player. Those who saw him play will remember the tall, athletic kid from Auburn who liked to feature in the more physical aspects of the game. But to his team mates, it was the often overlooked attributes that Shawn brought in abundance that were key drivers in the success of the mid 90’s UMPI teams. In the locker room, at training….heck, even during the game, Shawn always brought a skewed sense of humor that lightened the heavier moments. He brought an energy that was infectious to his team mates and a dedication to excellence which has clearly continued into his professional life.
Simon Mitchell—Former UMPI teammate

There is nothing superficial and no hidden motivation in his demeanor. Because of this people trust him and believe in him.  Although he was not a four year player at UMPI, his presence was felt by the members of those teams by his interest and support of their efforts.  In short, he was still a teammate. Through UMPI, he had matured, found his passion as an athletic trainer and began to chart his professional course without hesitation. In short, he was respected as a teammate, and then, a professional from an early age.
     I have no doubt that the respect he has now earned from the players he trains and from the peers he interacts with is not solely derived from his skills and knowledge, but through his sincerity and understanding of "team". All of us who have been part of Shawn's life are proud of what he has accomplished but, more importantly, feel privileged for what he has brought to us all.  He is a credit to his family, his teammates, his education and to his own character.
 
--Karl Henrikson Shawn’s former UMPI basketball coach

Shawn has elevated the education and training that he received from the University of Maine at Presque Isle into a career that many could never dream to achieve.  He has demonstrated that to graduate from a small northern university, one can still take their place among the best that this country produces.
Richard Ward – Former UMPI Athletic Director 

During Shawn’s time here, men’s basketball won our first NCAA National Championship in 1999.  While we can’t give Shawn all the credit, he was certainly an integral part of our team effort to become one of the elite programs in the nation.  He understood the importance of educating the young guys on taking care of themselves, both on and off the court.
Jim Calhoun – Head Coach University of Connecticut men’s basketball 

Shawn, a native of Auburn, ME, was recently named the National Basketball Strength and Conditioning Association (NBSCA) “Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year.  He is in his 7th year as the strength and conditioning coach for the Indiana Pacers and is president of the NBSCA.

Shawn lives in Westfield, IN with his wife Stacee and their children Elijah (9), Gabrielle (7), and Brady (4).

 

Larry Worcester

There are people that love sports.  And then there are people that LOVE sports.  Given his body of work in northern Maine, Larry Worcester would seem to fall into the latter category.  Larry has the landscape of athletics in northern Maine surrounded;  not only as a basketball player at UMPI, but as a basketball coach for 17 years, soccer coach for 16, 13 years of coaching volleyball, and even 2 seasons coaching baseball and softball.  And as if that were not enough punishment, he has also served as a soccer and basketball official for the better part of 24 years at both the high school and college level!

Yet what is truly amazing about Larry’s lifelong involvement in athletics is not just that he’s participated.  It’s the staggeringly high level of success he has achieved with seemingly everything he takes on.

While a basketball player at UMPI, Worcester was a 3 year starter, 2-time team MVP, an All- Conference selection, and a 1988 Maine Small College Senior All-Star.  Larry was the  8th 1000 point scorer (1159 pts) in school history and the 1988 collegiate leader in the state of Maine in both free throw percentage (90.6%) and three-point percentage (57.7%).  Larry even played baseball at UMPI in 1986, perhaps just to prove he could, and succeeded there too, hitting .285 while playing pitcher and shortstop.  While that amount of success can often separate a player from his team, both in the mind of the fans and even sometimes in the mind of the player himself, Larry was a leader even then serving as the Owls’ Co-Captain in 1987 and 1988. 

Former teammate and now fellow UMPI Athletics’ Hall of Famer Terry Cummings:

“I had the opportunity to play with Larry Worcester at UMPI during the 1987-88 basketball season.  As an incoming freshman, I was quite nervous and overwhelmed at first, however; one guy who made my transition much easier was Larry Worcester.  Larry was a senior, and a very talented basketball player.  He welcomed myself and Maurice Ware as his teammates and even though we were both freshmen Larry helped us develop our game and never looked down on us.  Larry was our designated three point specialist and he could light up the scoreboard in a hurry.  I remember one particular weekend when it seemed like Larry couldn't miss from beyond the arc.  In the Saturday game he had 26 points including seven 3's and on Sunday he highlighted our scoring attack pouring in 32 points including another seven 3's.  If my memory serves me correct he was one of the top

3 point shooters in the nation that year.  Could not have asked for a better teammate and I cannot think of anyone more deserving to be inducted into the UMPI hall of fame.  It was a privilege to have played on the same team with him even if only for one year.”

  -- UMPI Hall of Famer Terry Cummings 

While at UMPI, Worcester’s success was not limited to on the court heroics either.  A Health, Physical Education, and Recreation major, Larry earned the UMPI Outstanding Physical Education Major Award as well as the MAHPERD Outstanding Student Award.

For some athletes, when the playing career is over, the story ends.  But not with Larry.  His accomplishments after UMPI match and even surpass what he was able to do on the court as a student-athlete.

In his years coaching boys and girls high school basketball at Easton, Narraguagus, and Washburn, Worcester’s teams have made state tournament appearances in 14 out of 17 years.  He has been selected “Coach of the Year” FOUR different times (1991, 1994, 1997, 2005).  He has coached 34 All-Conference players, 9 All-Tournament selections, and 3 All-State players.

In soccer, Larry’s teams have reached the regional semifinals 5 times (2000, ’01, ’02, ’03, ’04) and made it as far as the Eastern Maine runner-up in 2003.  His soccer teams have produced 37 All-Conference players, 12 All-Eastern Maine Selections, 6 Aroostook County Player’s  of the Year, and 6 All-State Selections.

Away from coaching and officiating, Larry has been developing students in the classroom.  First as a physical education instructor, then as an acting principal in the Washburn District High School, and from 2005 to present as the principal at Woodland Consolidated School.

There is a popular saying that coaches have grown fond of in recent years that says “Sports do not build character, the reveal it.”  Larry Worcester’s time in sports has revealed a love for the games he’s played, coached, and officiated, and a desire to pass that love and lessons learned onto other generations.

 

Erica (McGary) Tweedie

There are star players that are naturally good, come onto the scene with a bang, and their games do not evolve from freshman to senior seasons.  And then there are student-athletes like UMPI women’s basketball’s Erica McGary.  McGary tasted success as a freshman and used it to fuel her to continue working on her game and improving upon her already lofty freshman statistics. 

 

“Erica was dominant and a “go to” player down the stretch in games.  In fact, we ran the same play for four years when we needed a score at the end of games and I don’t remember her not either scoring or getting to the free throw line and not missing a free throw.  Erica was a lockdown shooter from 15 feet and her versatility became a match-up problem for opponents.  If teams put a guard on her, we’d post her up and if they put a post on her, we’d bring her out to the perimeter.  She could score from anywhere.” 

--Erica’s UMPI coach Alan Gordon

 

Her teammates describe a player that had a true passion for the game of basketball, that gave nothing less than her best every day, and her success with the UMPI Owls basketball program is well deserved. 

Since her days at UMPI, Erica continues to strive to get better.  Despite being a gifted and energetic teacher already for MSAD #29, she is now pursuing and has halfway completed the requirements for her School Counseling Graduate Internship.

Basketball has remained part of Erica’s life after he playing days as well.  In 2004, she began coaching; teaching the skills that guided her to success as an athlete.  Erica has coached girls’ basketball, softball, and girls soccer in the MSAD #29 school district.  The last two seasons she has served as the JV Girls Basketball Coach at MSAD #29.

Erica currently resides in Houlton with her husband, Tim, and their two children Jay (5 yrs) and Ty (2 ½).