Harold “Tank” Violette, who enjoyed a 39-year career as a coach, teacher and athletic director in Maine, died Tuesday at age 77.
Violette was inducted in the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 after a prestigious coaching career in high school football, ice hockey, wrestling, golf and baseball at Winslow High School.
From 1969-85, he led the Winslow football team to five state championships. Only three men have served as a head football coach at Winslow since 1958, starting with Wally LaFountain, Violette and current coach Mike Siviski.
Violette was an assistant for LaFountain and then went to Belfast where he guided the Lions to state titles in 1967 and 1968 before taking over for LaFountain.
Violette also enjoyed state-title success in ice hockey after helping start the Winslow program in the 1970s. He guided the Black Raiders to six state crowns.
Violette was inducted into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. He grew up in Waterville and graduated from UMaine in 1960.
Regarded as one of the top linemen in UMaine history, Violette was a three-year letterwinner as a member of the football team in the late 1950s. He earned All-Yankee Conference honors in both 1958 and 1959 and twice received All-Maine honors. He also earned All-New England honors in 1958 and 1959.
During his induction into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, Violette cited the hard-nosed, do-anything-to-win type of athletes in the communities he coached as something special.
“The support of the community and the athletic commitment Winslow displays is unbelievable, and the kids are willing to do whatever it takes, so I was very lucky,” he said.