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.
(Inducted September 15, 2012)