2016 Hall of Fame Inductee: LTC Maurice "Spanky" White

2016 Hall of Fame Inductee: LTC Maurice "Spanky" White

LTC Maurice "Spanky" White

Class of 1958

            Maurice White was nicknamed "Spanky" in his childhood when he and a group of friends went to a showing of Our Gang, a popular film series that was produced between 1922 and 1944.  The meaning of the nickname, or phrase "a spanky child", in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries seem to make it a perfect fit for Maurice, or "Spank" as his friends refer to him.  At that time that term was slang for an intelligent, gifted child.

            Maurice proved to be gifted in many things in his life.  As a basketball player, Spank was a self-made player.  He worked hard to develop his skills and made great strides as a player as he grew.  Although he also ran track and cross country in school, his true passion was basketball and his hard work and dedication paid off when he made it to Aroostook State Teachers College (the University was not recognized as Maine-Presque Isle until 1971).  Maurice started in every game of his four-year career, and by all accounts averaged around 18 to 19 points per game every season.  In his junior season (1956-57) he led his team to North East College Conference Championship in a win over Husson University in the final.  In 1957-58 the team made another remarkable run at the championship, but Husson got it's revenge and the team lost a close game in the final.  Spank was named to the North East College Conference Championship All-Tournament Team all four years of his career.

            His teammates and his friends describe him as having many attributes of a leader.  He was a team player and easy to play with, but also had the qualities that lead to verbal on floor leaders.  He was quick and aggressive, and he excelled on the court in his career.  If anyone ever questioned his loyalty to his team, one needed to look no farther than his wedding date to find out his commitment level.  Maurice was married on a Friday night, but played in a tournament game on Saturday.

            Maurice was a military man, another thing in his life that he proved to be gifted in.  He entered the Maine Army National Guard in 1953, then became active in the Army in 1969 when he served in the Vietnam War.  He joined the US Army Reserves in 1975 and finally retired from his military service in 1987 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  The Army recognized his gifted status by decorating him handsomely.  Lt. Colonel White received the Bronze Star, an Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, a Meritorious Service Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, a Vietnam Service Medal, a Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, a Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 Device, an Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Sharpshooter Badges for M1 Rifle, M1 Carbine, M16 Rifle, and 45 Cal Pistol; as well as receiving decoration for an Outstanding Instructor Maine Military Academy.

            Mr. White also had a long career as a teacher, many of those years in the MSAD #1 System.  Despite being described as an intimidating figure, and stories of him sliding his briefcase across the room so it slammed into a wall to quiet a room, he was well-liked in the classroom.  Many students noted him as their favorite teacher, and noted that he could be a bit of a jokester at times.  Maurice also proved to be a gifted family man, and he and his wife Sylvia of 59 years had four daughters and a son.  Mr. White was extremely proud of son and daughters, as well as his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

            The University of Maine at Presque Isle is proud to honor LTC Maurice "Spanky" White and welcome him into the Hall of Fame.  The Athletics Hall of Fame Reception and Dinner will be held in the Campus Center on Saturday, October 1st at 5:30 PM.  Tickets are $20 and can be bought by calling the Athletics Department at 768-9506.