New inductees into the Lake Region Athletic Hall of Fame
By Wayne E. Rivet
As a champion runner and basketball player, Steve Googoo learned many life lessons while participating in high school sports.
“I teach and mentor radiology students at Bridgton Hospital and while doing so I strive to pass these very same values on to my students,” said Googoo, a member of the Lake Region High School Class of 1976.
Googoo recently spoke as one of six new inductees into the Lake Region High School Hall of Fame.
An induction ceremony was held in the school auditorium on Thursday, Jan. 26. Social time in the cafeteria kicked off the evening, which honored new “Hall” members Miles Bartlett (2002-2006), Kevin Floster (2002-2006), Erin Leydon Plummer (1997-2001), Mike Shane (1978-1982) and Steve Googoo (1972-1976). Wayne Rivet entered the “Hall” under as a “contributor” — “must have been a positive contributor to the Lake Region athletic scene through deeds and actions or generosity.”
LR senior Jackie Morse opened the event with a splendid rendition of the “National Anthem” followed by a welcome from Varsity Club president Lauren Jakobs and Athletic Director Paul True.
Each new inductee gave brief comments regarding their Hall selection, as well as offering a few “memories” from their glory days at Lake Region High School.
Mike Shane: …When I reflect back on those eight years (high school and college), my fondest memories are right here at Lake Region High School. Playing for Coach (Ken) Whitney my senior year, it was electric — a neat time to play basketball back in 1982, there were no computers, no cell phones, no video games. So on Friday or Saturday night when the Lakers were in town, you either went to the movies or watched the Lakers play…It was standing room only. It was a great time to play basketball.
...I am extremely honored. My heart is here at Lake Region High School, and it always will be.
Steve Googoo: I am honored to be selected to this elite class of athletes and coaches. I am happy to be the ‘old timer’
…John Lyle was my cross-country coach for four years. As a coach, he encouraged me to run road races in the summer, he was a great off-season team motivator, stressing the importance of year-round conditioning. He also designed a tough, hilly home course to better prepare the team for regional and state meets. I know that he was instrumental in furthering my running career.
…Peter Hughes. He was an outstanding basketball coach and teacher. His attention to detail, team preparation and motivational speeches were second to none. His strong leadership led us to the State Class B basketball title in 1976.
…My final thank you is to my parents, Katherine and Jim Hawkes and to the rest of my family. They provided me with a supportive and loving home, which allowed me to grow into the person I am today. They attended my meets and games, and they always encouraged me to do my best.
Erin Leydon Plummer: This honor truly means a lot…I’ve walked down these halls so many times, but my favorite is just outside this auditorium, lined with trophy cases, banners and plaques of Hall of Famers, symbolic of so many accomplishments, individual records, conference and state championships, hundreds and thousands of hours of practices and games, filled with sweat, tears and lessons, wins and losses, coaches, friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. Every time I walk down that hallway, I get chills and it brings me right back to the Lake Region, the field hockey field, the basketball court and the softball field. I love the number of familiar faces and names on that wall — friends, classmates, childhood role models, former coaches and teachers, Papa Shane, my boss and former coach Kevin (Hancock) and one of my all-time favorite humans, Coach Linda Whitney. How lucky am I to be with in such great company, so many of those people have profoundly impacted my life.
…I remember one day in high school my mother taking me aside. She could tell the pressure I was putting on myself was interfering with my ability to deal with the world around me. I will always remember her advice — don’t take life, high school, academics, sports so seriously. You have to take it all in, enjoy what is going on around you, smile and have fun.
Kevin Hancock — Back in 1996, I was on his first middle school basketball team he coached. Little did I know then the lessons Coach Hancock was teaching us were ones that would stick forever. I still have a letter he sent to his players. He wrote, “Remember the important things we talked about this season. 1. Hustle and smile. 2. Play like winners. 3. Be proud of who you are. 4. Work together as a team.” He closed the letter with a handwritten, personalized note. These things stick with kids.
Coach Linda Whitney — I know with 100% certainty my life would not be the same without Mrs. Whitney’s influence. Her role went way beyond sports. Her commitment to young women in the community was immeasurable. I am so thankful to have had four years of field hockey with her and a few bonus seasons of basketball when she assisted with the varsity program.
Her expectations for her players, on and off the field, taught me so many lessons that I carry with me today…I thank Coach Whitney for challenging me, instilling confidence, values, tenacity and a fierce desire to win, and think about what could be. That nothing is impossible. I am forever grateful. Thank you can never be enough.
Kevin Floster: Many of you might not know this, but my running career started way before I was a Laker. It is pretty safe to say I was a hyperactive kid growing up. One day when I was 5 or 6 years old, my dad came up with a plan to help me expel some of my excess energy. Somewhat jokingly he said, “Hey Kev, why don’t you see how fast you can run around the house 10 times.” Not one to back down from a challenge, and perhaps to my dad’s surprise, I took him up on his offer and started doing counterclockwise circles around the house. Even at that age, I loved the feeling that running gave me. I continued to develop my young running career by making it my personal mission to win every school yard foot race not matter what the distance or competition. I always knew I had a future in competitive running. I could never have imagined how the sport would shape who I am today.
(Kevin thanked his parents, “his loyal supporters who were at every one” of his races and “every step of the way…it was a family experience,”
Thanks to his wife, Jenna, a Fryeburg Academy runner who he met at LRHS his junior year — the Raiders didn’t have an indoor track team then — they were both state championship runners;
Teammate Miles Bartlett, “Miles and I realize that working together and holding each other accountable we could achieve great things. We were the ultimate training partners, pushing each other through tough workouts and keeping each other motivated, constantly talking about racing strategies and having more fun along the way than anyone could ever imagine. It’s only fitting that we are receiving this honor together. I wouldn’t have it any other way,”
My coaching here was incredible. I had knowledgeable and dedicated coaches. Each had a unique approach, and created a dynamic environment, which was the bedrock of my success — coaches Dan Dors (cross country, “Achieving success takes hard work” and “being a successful athlete means nothing unless you are a good person to back it up”); Bruce Hilton (indoor track, “Coaching indoor track without a training facility is not easy, but you always found a way of making our practices both productive and fun” and “your pep talks were heartfelt and genuine”); Scott Rush-Donahue (indoor track, “You have the perfect personality for a track coach — no matter what, your positive demeanor and outlook helped me reach my goals”); Mark Snow (outdoor track, “It’s an understatement to say you are a running fanatic. Your love of the sport is infectious. I owe you a debt of gratitude for helping me develop a passion, appreciation and respect for the sport of track & field. Under your guidance, I learned to train, think and run as a champion”).
Running has meant more to me than chasing records and championships. It shaped the person I am today in so many ways. The qualities I developed at Lake Region — work ethic, dedication, discipline and humility — have benefited me in every aspect of life.
Miles Bartlett: Some of you might remember the speech I gave at graduation about rodeo clowns, I can assure you tonight there won’t be any talk about rodeo clowns…the success I’ve had over the past 10 years since graduating from Lake Region has boiled down to two things — hard work. I’ve met a lot of great runners and scientists, they all work hard, but when I look at the most successful runners and scientists, they have one thing in common, which I have in common with them, it’s luck. You don’t get to a high level of success without a lot of help from the people around you. I don’t think I would be able to stand up here today if not for the people helped me get through high school, as well as undergraduate education at UMaine.
It starts with my friend base….always made me feel that running was a great future for me.
I had fantastic teachers here…K Bolduc, Barry Johnson, Mark Snow, Faye Levasseur, Donald Weafer and Joe Dorner…which led me to a career in science.
I don’t think I would have reached the level of athletic success I had if not for my teammates and coaches…
I have been extremely lucky being around people who complement me. I tend to be stubborn. But you need to be patient sometimes, loosen up a little bit, and my teammates helped me do that…It felt like a family, someone I could lean on.
Again, I was lucky. All three coaches — Mark Snow, Bruce Hilton and Dan Dors — were instrumental in helping me to become an athletic success. I would not be nearly as fast as I am today if it weren’t for those three. They showed me the talent I had, pulled it out of me, and allowed me to have a great career.
My family — support on race day; science doesn’t pay very well and kept my frig full on several occasions when I was pinching pennies; my sister, I tend to be fiery and hot headed, she is one of a few people who can throw it right back at me when it needs to be thrown back at me. She keeps me in check.
(Luck I had being with) Kevin, I could not have trained as I did, I could not run all those miles that I ran or done all of those repeats on the track or up Puke Hill or at the Ledges if it were not for Kevin. We were like Ying-Yang. Salt and pepper. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. He had the speed, and I had the endurance. When those two things meshed together, it ended up turning into a lot of great success.
Wayne Rivet: While walking by the wall with the photos of current Hall members, I counted 13 athletes, who I had the pleasure of capturing their outstanding sports careers through photos and news stories for The Bridgton News. I certainly join a select group who overcame obstacles, were highly committed, possessed unyielding desire to succeed, and accomplished great feats…
I also must thank my family, whose support and understanding enabled me to spend hours away from home and miss some important functions to do my job and try to do that job to the best of my ability, thus giving athletes past and present the recognition they truly deserve on the sports pages of the Bridgton News.
… Finally, coaches know that a team’s success often hinges on players’ ability to handle adversity. My greatest challenge blindsided me 10 years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer. Would I survive? I thought about all of the things I would miss out on — those important family moments like seeing your child succeed in sports, graduate, get married, have grandchildren. After a few days wandering around clueless, I decided to fight as hard as I could, stay positive throughout and survive. With a lot of support from family and this community, I did win that battle. Two years ago, cancer came back. The best medicine was hours spent coaching softball here at Lake Region. Two or three hours each day, I forgot about my problem and worked with outstanding young ladies. When you are threatened by cancer, you realize the only guarantee you have is yesterday.
I keep a reminder in my phone, a quote by the late ESPN announcer Stuart Scott. He said, “When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner which you live.”
How you live – make a difference in your community, and as the late David Hancock said, make it a better place than when you arrived.
Why you live – to pursue what makes you happy, and for me, partly, it has been writing, photographing and capturing the moments of outstanding Laker athletes and coaching.
Manner which you live – being a good person, someone willing to take the time to help others as a coach, mentor and friend.
At halftime of the Lake Region varsity boys’ basketball game against Sacopee Valley, the new inductees were ushered into the gym by current Laker athletes and introduced to fans.
To view the induction ceremony in its entirety, go to the Lake Region TV website. The public can nominate former Laker athletes and contributors to the sports program. Information about the Hall of Fame is available on the school district website, under Lake Region High School or contact AD Paul True at 693-6221.