McCallie,Bouchard Blais Manning MBHOF Bound
Three of the best players this state has ever seen will be part of the inaugural class of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame. Joanne P. McCallie, Lisa Blais Manning and Rachel Bouchard will be inducted Thursday night at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Lisa Blais Manning
Lisa Blais was a name known throughout the state of Maine in the 1970’s as she led her Westbrook High School team to four consecutive Class A State Championships on the way to being named to the All-State team four years in a row!
Lisa is the Gold Standard for excellence in women’s basketball in Maine. Her career in high school saw the Blue Blazers run off 72 consecutive wins. She scored over 1,500 points and was a Carnation and Converse All-American. Lisa received an invitation to tryout for the women’s Olympic Team in her junior year.
While at Old Dominion, Lisa’s team made the Sweet 16 one year, the Elite 8 one year, and the Final Four two years, winning the national championship her senior season of 1985.
Lisa led her team in assists that championship season and served as a Tri-Captain. Following her college career, Lisa took her skills to Ireland where she played for one season before coming back to Maine.
No player in Maine history, male or female, has experienced the national level of success that Lisa Blais enjoyed. This quiet girl from Westbrook, who grew up the youngest of eight children, combined her God given skills with an overwhelming desire to succeed and took her game to the highest level available.
Many basketball observers consider Lisa Blais the greatest female player Maine has ever produced. Lisa lives in Scarborough with her husband Eddie Manning, a long time basketball official in Scarborough with their five children Julie, Susan, Eddie, Christie (Ms. Maine Basketball 2010), and Kevin.
Rachel Bouchard is one of the best basketball players in Maine history. This Hall-Dale native was a Converse All-American and Gatorade Player of the Year in 1987. Rachel led her alma mater to the State Championship in 1987 on way to scoring 1,910 career points and garnering 1,255 rebounds.
Her high school exploits earned her first team status on the Bangor Daily News All-State team in her junior and senior seasons. Her number 34 jersey is retired at her high school.
As great as her high school career was, Rachel was just getting started. After accepting a full scholarship from the University of Maine, she became Seaboard Conference Rookie of the Year in 1988. She was a Kodak District 1 All-American in 1989,1990, and 1991.
Rachel was a player with the rare combination of strength and touch; she dominated the low post and could put the ball on the floor and get to the rim anytime she desired. Her unparallel play won her first team North Atlantic Conference honors all four years at the University of Maine! She was the North Atlantic Conference Player of the Year in 1990 and 1991.
Among her many awards were the ECAC Division 1 All-Star in 1991 and the NCAA Woman of the Year for the University of Maine in 1991.
Rachel played professional basketball in France following her college career and she belongs to the Maine Legends Hall of Fame, the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Maine Hall of Fame, and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. Her number 43 jersey was retired at the university in 1993.
This incredible player and new member of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame resides in Yarmouth, Maine.
Although born in Monterey, California, Maine claims Joanne Palombo-McCallie as one of our own. Coach P has moved from a high school protégé at Brunswick High School to one of the most brilliant college coaches in the nation.
A quick, talented player with a great shooting touch along with the ability to get to the rim against any type of defense, Joanne earned All-State honors two years in a row. She played at such a high level that basketball fans from coastal and southern Maine went out of their way to watch her play. After high school, she accepted a full scholarship to Northwestern University and played in the very competitive Big Ten.
But, as great as she was as a player, it is in coaching that Joanne has left her mark on the game. She was the first Division 1 coach to win a conference title in three different leagues and to be named conference Coach of the Year in three different conferences.
After a four year stop as an assistant coach at Auburn University, her head coaching career started at the University of Maine where she spent eight seasons, during which her teams posted a 167-73 record and made six straight NCAA appearances. Her teams recorded seven straight 20-win seasons and they won four conference championships.
Coach P. left Maine for Michigan State where she spent seven seasons and accumulated a 149-75 record including five straight NCAA appearances.
McCallie was named head coach at Duke University in 2007. Her impact was immediate, as she reached 100 wins at Duke in 122 games! Her teams are consistently in the hunt for a national championship, making the Elite Eight three times and being the Number 1 seed in the 2009 tournament. In her fourth season, her team won the ACC Championship, her second, and posted her second straight 30 win season at Duke.
The marriage between Joanne and Duke has been a fruitful one for all parties as the Lady Blue Devils are perennial contenders for the championship. Her program, along with Notre Dame, UConn, and Tennessee are the yardstick with which other college programs measure themselves. It is just a matter of time before Duke wins the NCAA Championship; when that happens, thousands of Mainers will be among those cheering most loudly.
Joanne and her husband John, have two children, Maddie 18, and Jack 14.