The fearlessness that Dean Dumas projects on the track doesn’t always match the way he feels inside. Public speaking is scary for him. But he didn’t let that stop him from standing up in front of hundreds of people to claim his place in the Husky Hall of Fame.
His acceptance speech was a love letter to the life-changing power of sports. Since graduating from the University of Southern Maine in 2012, Dumas channeled his competitive spirit into a successful collegiate coaching career. That was only possible because of the confidence he gained through dominating performances in hurdles, javelin, and pole vault.
“I probably would have never attended college if it wasn’t for athletics,” Dumas said.
Dumas was one of nine new members who were inducted into the Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Sunday, October 16. Before accepting their awards, the honorees reconnected with former teammates and coaches over dinner, hosted by the Portland Sheraton at Sable Oaks.
- JAMIE EVERHART '01 -- Soccer
- SAMANTHA WHITMAN '01 -- Soccer, Hockey, Lacrosse
- ANTHONY D'ALFONSO '10 -- Baseball
- DEAN DUMAS '12 -- Track & Field
- ERIN MCNAMARA '14 -- Basketball
- SAM DEXTER '16 -- Baseball
- PEYTON DOSTIE COLLINS '16 -- Field Hockey, Track & Field
- DANIEL DEL GALLO '17 -- Wrestling
- MATT GERKEN -- Athletic Healthcare (1999-2019)
“It speaks to excellence,” said Director of Athletics Al Bean. “There’s some really great athletes, really great students who have gone on to do some really amazing things in their life. They’re making a difference for other people. That’s what this is about, really.”
After his introductory remarks, Bean handed over the microphone and emcee duties to Dave Eid. He witnessed many of the inductees’ greatest moments from behind a TV camera during more than 20 years of covering sports for CBS13 WGME.
The first name Eid called to the podium was Jamie Everhart. He was a two-year captain of the soccer team and a three-time All-Little East Conference selection. More than 20 years after his graduation in 2001, he still ranks high in the program’s record book at sixth place in goals, assists, and points.
(Photo courtesy James Liebowitz)
Everhart’s speech set an emotional tone for the evening. He paused several times to rein in tears as he remembered the teammates who shared his struggles and successes. As a youth soccer coach, he encourages that camaraderie in the next generation of players.
The memories were just as affecting for 2016 graduate Sam Dexter. His speech swung between tears and laughs as he acknowledged his mother’s support. Despite her regular attendance at his baseball games, he wondered if she ever saw more than a few at bats because of her habit of shutting her eyes in moments of tension.
Dexter also cited USM Head Baseball Coach Ed Flaherty as a major influence on his career and the best coach he’s ever had. Under Flaherty’s tutelage, Dexter won the 2015 Gold Bat award as NCAA Division III National Player of the Year. He continues to play baseball professionally, most recently with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.
(Photo courtesy James Liebowitz)
To athletes who aspire to similar success, Dexter said, “You’ve got to have a strong work ethic and you’ve got to be willing to put in the time and sacrifice to do things extraordinary.”
His message resonated with President Jacqueline Edmondson from her seat in the audience. She had only lived in Maine a few weeks when she ran in the TD Beach to Beacon 10k Road Race on August 6. From personal experience as a runner, she knows the thrill of pushing herself to new heights and the dedication it takes to get there.
“So much of being an athlete is about the process and about sticking with it,” Edmondson said. “We have very talented student-athletes, but there’s a lot of hard work that goes into being champions and getting to the pinnacle of their athletic abilities. I’m proud of the fact that they stick with it and work hard every day.”
Edmondson began her presidency just before the start of the current fall sports season. She’s been treated to a stellar run by the women’s soccer team, which racked up 12 straight wins on the way to a 15-2 record. During half time at one of those games, Edmondson presented Ben Drummey with a ring to commemorate his national championship in pole vault.
USM’s championship legacy in track was represented at the Hall of Fame ceremony by Peyton Dostie Collins. She won the pentathlon at the 2016 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championships. No woman at USM had ever won a national championship before. Breaking a barrier like that takes more than physical strength.
“Believe in yourself,” Dostie Collins said. “I know it sounds kind of cliché, but you’re capable of more than you think.”
Dostie Collins was also a standout in field hockey. When she ended her career at USM in 2016, she held the program record for career points and assists. She especially enjoyed the team aspect of field hockey as a counterbalance to all the time she spent running track alone.
Loneliness was never a problem for Dan Del Gallo. He was born into a household of five brothers and wrestling was a family tradition. Their bond was on display in his acceptance speech when he acknowledged his younger brother, Peter, as the better wrestler. That’s high praise considering his own Hall of Fame credentials.
“Maine is not necessarily the most powerhouse state for wrestling. But looking back, I wasn’t as far off as maybe I thought I was,” Del Gallo said. “I would advise people to not sell themselves short if you’re from a small place.”
Del Gallo was a senior in 2017 when he won the NCAA Division III Wrestling National Championship in the 149-lbs. weight class. His record that year was 45-1 and the one loss still stings. As Del Gallo left the podium, Dave Eid wondered aloud who could possibly have beaten him. The wince on Del Gallo’s face drew a sympathetic moan from his fellow wrestlers.
- ROBERT LOGAN, JR. -- Dr. Richard A. Costello Special Achievement Award
- ROBERT KUECH -- Clifford O.T. Weiden Special Achievement Award
- TOM LOVEITT -- David F. "Dusty" Drew Special Achievement Award
The visitors to the podium also included the recipients of three special achievement awards that the Athletic Department gives to its biggest supporters, boosters, and benefactors. The ceremony and all of its traditions have been held annually since 1986. The nine newest inductees bring membership in the Hall of Fame to 244 athletes, coaches, and staff.