Jess Brady remembered when Deb Smith, her softball coach for three years at the University of Maine, was inducted into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame.

“I thought of (the Hall) as a goal, but I thought it would unattainable,” Brady said.

Shows what Brady knew.

On Oct. 18, Brady will join five other Black Bear athletes in the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014. Joining Brady are Mt. View High School graduate and track and field standout Joe Moody, cross country and track and field runner Gerry Clapper, field hockey star Annie Elkanich, football and baseball player M. Milton MacBride, and baseball player Curt Smith.

When Brady graduated in 2005, she was a four-time America East first team selection. Brady graduated with school records for games played in a season (57), career at-bats (608), hits in a season (62), hits in a career (205), stolen bases in a season (23) and stolen bases in a career (73).

A graduate of Forest Hills High School of Jackman, Brady is arguably the most accomplished athlete in the small school’s history. When she arrived in Orono, Brady realized how much she had to learn about softball.

“They took all the skills I had, stripped me down to ground zero, and built me back up again,” Brady said. “Coming to Maine was a little overwhelming at first, but I was thrilled to just get a chance.”

Brady cited coach Michelle Puls, an assistant coach for Brady’s first three seasons before becoming head coach in 2005, as a major influence on her college softball career. Puls often worked with Brady before and after team practices.

“She spent, I don’t know who many hours, working with me,” Brady said. “We’d get together and practice every day. We’d meet and work out before my 8 a.m. class. I was with her all the time.”

Brady was an all-America East first selection each year of her career, and was named to the all-conference tournament team in 2004, leading the Black Bears to the America East title and the NCAA Regionals.

“I had such an amazing experience at the University of Maine,” Brady said. “It’s the relationships you build that you remember.”

A single mother to her 4-year old son, Xavier, Brady spent some time coaching softball at Greely High School in Cumberland. However, coming off two surgeries on her left shoulder, Brady said she will not coach this year.

“I do want to stay involved with the sport,” Brady said.

Moody captained the 1998-99 indoor and outdoor track and field teams for Maine, ran in the 1999 NCAA outdoor championship meet, where he placed 14th in the 800-meters. Moody was New Champion in the 800 in 1998 and 1999, and America East champ in 1999.

Moody won the conference title in the 500-meters indoor season in 1996 and 1997, setting a meet record in ’97 at one minute, 2.72 seconds.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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