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Gilbert inducted into wrestling HOF
BATH --There is not much that Doug Gilbert and Dr. Tom Ward have truly earned respect throughout the wrestling community and they were inducted in the Maine Amateur Wrestling Hall Of Fame on Saturday.
Over 125 people attended the annual banquet held at the Hyde School in Bath. Also inducted into the MAWA included Dr. Tom Ward, Maynard Pelletier, Jon Kane and Rusty Smith.
Gilbert was introduced by HOF coach Hal Watson who allude to Gilbert's unique ability to kids involved and interested in endeavor to make them realize there's more in life tostrive for.
''Doug is a great technition,'' said Watson. ''When he came to Dirigo he knew eactly what he wanted to teach the kids and has never wavered because he is still teaching those same traits today.''
The long time Dirigo coach fully realizes how much hard work, sacrifice and dedication is required in order to reach the next level.
''In September of 1992, Glen Gurney asked Gilbert to be an assistant coach at Dirigo when Watson stepped down. Gurney stepped away after Dirigo won the 1996 Class C state championship and Gilbert was elevated to varsity and has scripted everything since.
''I came back (to wrestling) at the right place at the right time,'' said Gilbert said, who had scheduling conflicts, shipping as a Merchant Marine and earned an MBA in 1992. Still, he remains committed to helping put kids in a position to succeed.
From 1997, Cougar teams have finished first or second in every regional, including winning 2007 Class C State meet. Gilbert has coached 28 state champions and 18 individuals who have over career 100 wins.
''Kids that wrestle are still the same,'' said Gilbert, regarding student-athletes work ethic and competitiveness, in lieu of having so many extra activities. ''I'd like to think they are better wrestlers (techniques) and less brawlers. We've been lucky at Dirigo. There is a culture, a history of good wrestling and the kids want to be pushed.''
During Gilbert's initial coaching stint, he was an assistant under Jerry Perkins on the 1981 Rumford state championship team.
''(Doug) has a tremendous work ethic,'' said HOFer Perkins, previously. ''He has an inside drive and desire to succeed that is difficult to match. His competitiveness and desire to win is fierce to say the least. Doug's knowledge of the intense sport of wrestling is unparallel in my opinion.'' Gilbert, a Rumford native, was initially introduced to wrestling as a freshman at the 1971 state meet, held in Rumford. The stage obviously became engrained in Gilbert because the Panthers won three straight Class A state championships, 1972-74.
''This is my fifth decade in wrestling,'' said Gilbert. ''After I got into it my sophomore year, it was my team mates that kept me there.
Gary Oldham (late), Steve DeFillip, Dave Magoon, Dino Sciraffia, Jeff and Glenn Gurney, and who could forget (assistant coach) Tom Paradis. There are second generation wrestlers now and all the assistant coaches have helped along the way.''
Gilbert had competed at 167 pounds during his sophomore and junior years, but was destined to move into unchartered territory. Perkins convinced Gilbert, who weighed 185, that going unlimited (when it was truly unlimited) was the best for the team.
Gilbert is the sixth member of 1974 Rumford team in MAWA HOF. They include coach Perkins, teammates Steve DeFillip, Steve Nokes, Larry Gill and Bob McPhee. Since 1993, the MAWA has inducted 71 individuals for their achievements and contributions toward the world's oldest sport.