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Abbott to be inducted into Maine HOF Sunday
REGION -- It has certainly has been a life full of memories for Walter Abbott, however, he learned early about the importance of hard work that was necessary to succeed and that has paid off.
The Rumford native will be inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame at its 37th Annual Awards Banquet at noon on May 20 at the Bangor Civic Center. A goal by the MSHOF Directors are to have this ceremony be the biggest and best yet.
Former Rumford/Mountain Valley coach Jerry Perkins is the new executive director of the MSHOF. Abbott initially showcased his talents as a three-sport student athlete at Stephens High School. At Hosmer Field, Abbott discovered his calling as a standout on the 1953 Class A state football championship team; which defeated South Portland by 26-14.
Even then he was tough as nails and at approximately 150 pounds, played on both sides of the ball and didn’t back down to anyone.. Abbott went on to star at the University of Maine at Orono (now UMaine), where he ended up staying on until retiring after spending 55 years at the institution. Abbott played offensive guard and linebacker for head coach Harold Westerman and the Black Bears. He was the head coach at UMO from 1967-75 and never wavered from his coaching philosophy.
He preached that players developed a strong work-ethic, be solid fundamentally and be willing to hit and hit until the end. Defensively, the objective wasn’t simply to make a tackle; instead envision being a Mack truck and go directly through him.
Abbott twice served as acting director of athletics; his son, Steven is currently the AD at UMaine. A respected and well-published teacher in the University’s College of Education, Abbott was inducted into UMaine’s Sports Hall of Fame in October, 2004. Abbott grew up on the family farm in East Rumford and father Warren instilled a solid foundation that a person needed to work in order to get ahead in life. One of the first lessons learned was milking the cows, beginning at 4:15 each morning. Abbott might have moved away from the River Valley, however, he never has forgotten his roots. He still proclaims that growing up in western Maine had been a unique experience and Rumford kids were the hardest-hitters in the state, bar none.
Other inductees include Phillip A. Coulombe, Sidney; Emily Jo Ellis, Bangor; Edward V. Guiski, Kennebunk; Matthew Hancock, Casco; Dennis Libbey, Bangor; Howard S. Vandersea, Brunswick; and Dana E. Wilson, Brewer.
In addition, four scholar-athletes will be honored as recipients of $5,000 scholarships: Jordan Hersom, Turner; Patrick LaChance, Raymond; Seth Sweet, Madison; and Carylanne Wolfington, Hallowell.