Some thoughts while I wait for the Red Sox to begin a winning streak …
â€¢ Has anyone done more for football in Maine than John Huard? I doubt it. Over the past 50 years, the Waterville native has been a player, a coach and, most recently, as president of Northeast Turf, Hue Inc., a builder of places to play.
Huard’s playing days at the University of Maine were in the spotlight this week. On Thursday, Huard was named a member of this year’s College Football Hall of Fame class. Huard played linebacker for the Black Bears from 1964 to 1966, and was a two-time all-conference selection.
Huard coached in the college football at Maine and at Maine Maritime. He coached Acadia University to the Canadian championship twice, in 1979 and 1981. He was head coach of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. He played for the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints.
Huard was the first football player inducted into the Maine Athletic Hall of Fame, and the first member of the Alfond Stadium Ring of Honor.
In 1999, Sports Illustrated ranked the top 50 sports figures from each state. Huard was ranked 20th in Maine. He should have been higher, if for no other reason than he was a dominant football player from a place that does not produce dominant football players.
In 2009, ESPN.com named the best football players from each state, in relation to impact on the professional game. Maine’s list was short, Huard and former Portland High quarterback Quinton Porter.
Whether they played with or against him, were coached by him, or played on one of the artificial surface fields Huard’s company installed, Huard’s influence on Maine football crosses three generations. Huard deserves all the accolades he gets.
â€¢ Two things come to mind when I think of Stephen Drew’s return to the Boston Red Sox. One, this deal could have been completed a lot sooner. Two, Drew is keeping the shortstop seat warm for Deven Marrero, not Xander Bogaerts.
Bogaerts’s future is at third base. Marrero is a decent hitter with an excellent glove, and he’ll play short in Boston soon. Will Middlebrooks, it was nice knowing you.
â€¢ Speaking of the Red Sox, this team-wide hitting funk can’t last all summer, can it?
â€¢ I can’t wait to see if California Chrome can win the Belmont and complete the Triple Crown. I hope he does, just for the rare novelty of it.
â€¢ The Boston Celtics failed to secure one of the top three draft picks in the NBA draft lottery this week, so now I can go back to being ambivalent about the NBA until next year’s draft lottery.
â€¢ High school state championships in baseball, softball and lacrosse will not be awarded until June 21. That seems late, but after the brutal winter we just had, a long spring season is welcome.
â€¢ The quality of high school baseball in Maine might be down right now, but the state still produces some pretty good players. Eight of the 11 players who saw action for the University of Southern Maine in Saturday’s 6-3 win over Salisbury at the Division III World Series are from Maine.
To win their third national title and first since 1997, the Huskies will have to come out of the loser’s bracket. They play again today in Appleton, Wis., at 1 p.m.