While attending the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Gail Fitzmaurice was a two sport athlete that will be remembered as an exceptional field hockey player by any who saw her take the field. She was a dynamic player with the gift of making all those around her better. Gail was a leader by example, her desire to win was infectious and team came before individual goals. The fact that, in 1983 she led the entire state in assists, a statistic defined by a player’s ability to put her TEAMMATES in the best position to score, only serves to further confirm that Gail was all about the team. She was also a member of the women’s basketball team for two seasons and made her presence felt as a defensive force in the paint and a leading rebounder. Off the courts and fields of UMPI, Gail was still a leader, serving as the President of the Tau Epsilon Phi Sisterhood during the 1983-84 academic year.
Gail’s impact on the Owls’ field hockey team can be best illustrated with this story from the 1983 NAIA District #5 semifinal contest. Gail, a co-captain, saw her Owls fall behind 3-0 in the first ten minutes of the game. Playing against the #2 seed, Johnson State, it seemed as though UMPI’s tourney run was about to come to an unfulfilling end. But as all great leaders do, Gail refused to accept her team’s fate. With two goals of her own and assists on two others, Gail spearheaded a comeback that resulted in a 5-3 win. The Owls’ rode the emotional high of the come-from-behind victory straight into the championship game where they defeated the #1 seed Castleton State for UMPI’s first ever NAIA District #5 championship.
Gail’s performance in that semifinal game and others like it throughout the season earned her the honor of being named to the All-State Team. After the season, she was honored further with an invitation to participate on an all-star team that competed in front of over 2000 fans against the 1984 Olympic Field Hockey Team.
Athletics and physical fitness has remained an important part of Gail’s adult life. Today however, instead of field hockey, it is the sport of cycling that has captured her heart. Gail has just completed her 10th year of participating in the 180 mile bicycle ride “Trek across Maine” for the American Lung Association and she also rides in many other bicycle rides for charities. She participated for over 20 years in women’s adult softball leagues playing on teams that went on to win state championships and play in national tournaments. Of all her post-collegiate athletic achievements though, the one that Gail is most proud and fond of came when she completed the Maine Half Marathon in Portland with close friend Laura Gardiner in 1996.
Following graduation, Gail began a career in education as the K-12 physical education instructor and Grade 9 health instructor for MSAD #13 in Bingham. While there, Gail proved to be just as successful of a coach as she was an athlete. Leading varsity girls’ soccer, basketball and softball squads, all of her teams made regular appearances in the Western Maine tournaments and she even guided her basketball and softball programs to state championship appearances. Gail served as the district’s athletic director from 1987-89.
After spending the 1989-90 school year at Skowhegan Area High School, her alma mater, Gail left education to become the assistant recreation director for the community of Hollis where she led programs for both children and adults. She stayed active and connected with high school sports, becoming an official for both soccer and basketball.
Gail then made a career change in 1992 when she became a certified orthotist and began working for Maine Orthotic and Prosthetic Rehab Services of Portland, a position she still holds. Having a true love of animals, she has taken the opportunity to make prosthetic limbs for dogs. In 2000, Gail and one of her canine “patients” were featured on the television show, Animal Plant.
In 2007, Gail was elected to her high school Field Hockey Hall of Fame in Skowhegan. Gail currently resides in Waterboro, Maine with her partner of 17 years, Kim Westcott.
(Inducted on September 24th, 2011)