Retired Presque Isle basketball coaches were recently awarded for achieving more than 300 career wins for the Wildcats. From left are: Dwight Hunter, accepting the award for the late William Hanscom, who had 369 wins; Jeff Hudson, 361 wins; and Tim Prescott, 329 wins. Credit: Courtesy of Terry Sandusky

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Presque Isle High School now has a place to recognize its most victorious coaches.

The school created the 300 Win Club to honor different generations of coaches for their contributions, Athletic Director Mark White said. The first three names are now inscribed on a wall in the school’s gym.

Just before a recent home game, retired Wildcat coaches Jeff Hudson, Tim Prescott and the late William Hanscom were welcomed into the club with tributes from the Athletic Department. Hudson and Prescott received commemorative plaques, and former Caribou Athletic Director Dwight Hunter accepted a plaque for the Hanscom family. 

Maintaining that level of longevity in coaching takes enormous dedication and is something the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame celebrates. The organization will induct 10 coaches this summer who each have more than 300 career wins to their credit.

Hudson will be one of those 10. He reached his 400th victory in 2019, and notched 361 for the Presque Isle girls varsity team.

Hudson grew up playing basketball for Presque Isle in the early 1980s and always wanted to be part of the sport. He was humbled to be among Presque Isle’s first honorees, he said.

“It means I have had some great, great kids that have played for me and it also means that I have had some great coaches that I worked with,” he said.

Hudson got his start coaching at the Presque Isle Recreation Center before he became the coach for Limestone and eventually Presque Isle.

During his time with the Wildcats, he worked with talented players who played tough defense and won three state championships in 2006, 2012 and 2013, he said.

Hudson said one of the biggest challenges for either girls or boys basketball is to get the most out of the players. He enjoyed getting talented players into Presque Isle’s basketball program and making them the best they could be over a season.

“It’s not only about winning state championships, which is great, but I had a lot of really good teams that played hard and they made Presque Isle proud, and that’s something I am really proud of, too,” Hudson said.

Prescott, who coached Wildcat boys basketball, had 329 wins. 

“I was very proud of the recognition and also proud to be recognized the same night as Jeff, who is a good friend of mine,” Prescott said.

Prescott coached for 26 years and had a lot of great basketball players in an excellent sports program at the high school, he said. He described his coaching style as uptempo, meaning the boys basketball team put the pressure on other teams while on defense and tried to capitalize on that pressure.

The team never won the final championship, but to him it was always about coaching the kids. His assistant coaches Ralph Michaud and Scott Young contributed as much to the team’s success as he did, Prescott said.

Growing up, Prescott was involved in different sports, including basketball, during his high school years at Southern Aroostook High School in Dyer Brook. 

He knew from a young age he wanted to be a basketball coach, and started at Presque Isle in 1985. He felt lucky to have been a coach during the golden age of basketball and there was no better place to be than Presque Isle, he said.

One of the biggest rule changes that Prescott witnessed was the incorporation of 3-pointers into high school basketball.

“I’m a naturally competitive person and it’s fun to choose a team and try to develop a team and be successful,” Prescott said. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s challenging, and I think that drew me to [coaching] more than anything else.”

Legendary Wildcat boys coach William Hanscom had 369 wins during his career, and was named to the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014 as a Legend of the Game.

Hanscom started coaching at Presque Isle in 1931, and stayed right there until his retirement in 1956. He led the Presque Isle varsity boys to their only state championship in 1932.

The Hunter family’s relationship to Hanscom goes way back, Hunter said. He began playing for Hanscom in 1952. His brother, Gene Hunter, played in the 1930s.  

Hanscom was a true gentleman who wouldn’t get into an argument with an official during games and was an outstanding coach for Presque Isle, Hunter said.

Hanscom died in 1958 at the age of 58, one year after he retired.