Former University of Maine and National Football League tight end Matt Mulligan and successful, longtime high school basketball coach John Donato are among seven people who will be inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021.
Also set to be enshrined during a Sept. 26 ceremony at Merrill Auditorium in Portland are broadcaster Tom Caron, runner Robin Emery, girls basketball coach Ed Feeney, MSHOF Executive Director Mary Mitchell Friedman and L.L. Bean president Leon Gorman, who will be inducted posthumously.
Joining the 2021 honorees are the nine people selected for inclusion in 2020, when the ceremony was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That group includes Amy Bernatchez, field hockey; Cathy (Narsiff) Caron, ice hockey; Tony Fournier, Karate; Merle Hallet, sailing; Lisa Kuronya Coombs, boxing; Marty Milligan, football; Don Richards, swimming; Carroll Ware, fly fishing; and Lindsay Whipple Kallas, tennis.
“We are committed to a ceremony this year,” said MSHOF President Brian Corcoran. “Whatever the new normal is, we intend to be a part of it.”
Mulligan attended Penobscot Valley High School in Howland, which did not have a football team. He first suited up as a tight end at Husson University before transferring to the University of Maine. He went on to play in the NFL for eight seasons, making the playoffs with the Jets, Patriots and Lions.
Donato has compiled a 563-271 record coaching girls basketball at six different schools. His greatest success was at Houlton, where he won nine regional titles and four state championships. His teams also claimed two regionals and one state title at Lawrence High in Fairfield. Donato is one of only seven Maine coaches to record more than 500 wins.
Caron is an Emmy Award-winning NESN studio host. The Lewiston native has worked with WGME-TV, the Portland Pirates and NESN, which he joined in 1995. He hosts the Red Sox pregame and postgame shows, serves as the play-by-play announcer for NESN’s Bean Pot Hockey coverage and hosts “The Instigators,” an NHL roundtable discussion.
Emery has won 255 races in Maine, more than any woman runner, according to the Maine Running Hall of Fame. Her 14 Labor Day Road Race wins and 13 Portland Boys’ Clubs wins made her a pioneer and the leader of women’s running in the 1970’s.
Feeney picked up 415 wins as girls basketball coach at Portland High School where, from 1983-97, his teams captured 10 regional titles and three state crowns. He was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020.
Friedman is a former Colby basketball player and Portland attorney who is being recognized for her work as executive director of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. She insisted on honoring “the best of the best” while keeping an eye on social justice and furthering recognition of women in sport.
Gorman built his grandfather’s company, L. L. Bean, from a folksy Maine store employing fewer than 100 people to a worldwide corporation that employs tens of thousands. An ardent outdoorsman, he developed the company based on the Maine values of integrity, respect, customer service and love of the outdoors.
Tickets for the induction dinner may be purchased at mshof.com/tickets. Contact Bill Green at Billgreen@mshof.com for more information.