Orono, Maine – UMaine Athletics will induct eight new members into its UMaine Sports Hall of Fame at a ceremony at Jeff’s Catering tonight. Today’s induction ceremony will be streamed live and can be viewed below this link Starts at 7:45 p.m
Honorees include Elizabeth Carone Prelgovisk (1977-81), five-time swimming champion in New England; Stephen Cooper (1999-02), Football All-American and two-time conference Defensive Player of the Year; Scott Morse (1983–1986), all-American baseball player; Mike Viani (1985-89), who held 11 track records at the time of his graduation; John Tortorella (1977–1981), men’s hockey pioneer and 2004 NHL Coach of the Year; Elizabeth Wood (2012–16), three-time women’s basketball all-conference selection; the IC4A meets the 1915 Men’s National Champion Cross Country Team and the 1994 America East Champion and NCAA affiliate softball team.
Carone Prelgovisk is one of the most successful swimmers in school history. Carone Prelgovisk led the Black Bears to three New England titles and a second-place finish in 1981, their senior year. Individually, Carone Prelgovisk won five first places and numerous second places at the New England Championships. She won New England titles in the 400-yard medley relay, 800-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard medley relay, 50-yard backstroke, 100-yard singles medley, 200-yard Individual medley, 50-yard breaststroke, and back into the 400-yard medley relay of her senior season. During her career, she has more points at the New England Championship than any other swimmer in her class. This recognition was known as the Kay Fromer Award, named after a prominent coach who died of cancer. At the time of her graduation, Carone Prelgovisk was part of three school-record relay teams in the 200-yard medley, 400-yard medley, and 800-yard freestyle.
Cooper earned Associated Press All-American status in 2002 as a linebacker for the Black Bears. One of Maine’s most impressive defensive players of all time, Cooper was named Atlantic 10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2001 before receiving the award head-on in 2002. He was twice named a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, an annual honor that Best Defensive Player in the Football Championship Subdivision (DI-AA) and finished fifth in voting in 2002. In his career with the Black Bears, Cooper had amassed 374 tackles, 57 tackles for loss, seven interceptions and 25 sacks. After his time in Maine, Cooper was signed by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent. He spent nine seasons with the Chargers and finished his NFL career with 503 tackles, 9.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and eight interceptions.
A third All-American team in 1986, Morse helped lead Maine to College World Series appearances in 1984 and 1986. Morse, who received two ECAC All-Tournament Team selections, still holds the school record for most consecutive wins, having tied for 10 consecutive wins in 1984. A member of Maine’s 41-win season in 1986 Morse shared for the second most shutouts in a single season in Maine history (3) and ranks fourth in Maine’s career all-time win list with 26 wins. He had 248 strikeouts with the Black Bears before being selected by the Texas Rangers in the fifth round, 111 overall, of the 1986 Amateur Entry Draft. Morse spent four seasons in the minor leagues.
Viani held 11 UMaine track and field records at the time of his graduation and remains part of the current school-record 4 x 200 m indoor relay team and outdoor 4 x 100 m relay team. Four of Norman’s times still feature on Maine’s top 10 list, including results in the indoor 400m (3rd); Inside 500m (8th); outdoors 200m (5th); and outdoors 400m (8th). Norman’s distinguished collegiate career has included three ECAC individual and relay titles and multiple state championships. Norman, a four-time All-ECAC honoree, was selected to the All-New England team three times and was the top points-scorer in each of his last three years with the Black Bears Maines. A two-time IC4A qualifier, Norman became the first athlete from UMaine to break the 49-second mark in the 400m.
A pioneer in the men’s hockey program, Tortorella was the brave heart and soul of the Black Bears from 1978-1981 while averaging 110 points, 39 goals and 71 assists in 99 games. After his time in Orono, Tortorella enjoyed a legendary coaching career in the National Hockey League, including head coaching stints with the Tampa Bay Lightning (2000-08), New York Rangers (2009-13), Vancouver Canucks (2013-14), Columbus Blue Jackets (2015-21), and was named head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers on June 17, 2022. Tortorella became the first former black bear to win the Stanley Cup when he led Tampa Bay to the title in 2004. That season, Tortorella was awarded the Jack Adams Trophy for NHL Coach of the Year. As head coach, Tortorella has led his franchise to 12 playoff appearances while averaging 673 wins in 1,383 career games at the helm behind the bench.
At the time of her graduation, Wood was the only basketball player in school history to finish her career in the top 10 in program history in five major statistical categories: first in games played (127); third in steals (282); sixth in rebounds (902); seventh in total points (1,462); and eighth in assists (363). Wood, the 2013 America East Co-Rookie of the Year, was selected to the America East All-Conference first team in 2015 and to the league second team in 2014 and 2016 while also being named America East Co-Defensive Player of the Year was 2015. Wood, an All-Tournament selection in 2016, led the team in rebounding in all four years. Under her leadership, the Black Bears compiled back-to-back seasons of 20 wins and two America East regular-season titles in 2015 and 2016. In their senior season, Wood and the Black Bears racked up 26 wins, the second-highest overall win tally in school history. A recipient of the prestigious M Club Dean Smith Award, Wood was named 2016 America East Female Scholar Athlete of the Year.
The 1915 men’s cross country team was recognized as national champions when they won the IC4A title in New York City. With the first NCAA cross-country championship meeting still more than 30 years in the future, the IC4A meeting attracted the best teams in the nation and the title team was declared the national champion. Maine was clocked by several of the best distance runners in program history, including Frank Preti, who finished second in New York; Roger Bell, third; Ed Dempsey, eighth; and Al Wunderly, tenth. Maine also won the title in New England in 1915.
The 1994 softball team was the first women’s program to reach the NCAA Division One tournament. The Black Bears achieved the feat after winning the America East Championship that season. Pitcher and UMaine Sports Hall of Famer Deb Smith won three games on the final day of the America East Tournament to lead Maine to the title and into the NCAA Tournament. Smith, who led the team with .399 shots and amassed a 19-8 county record, was named the conference’s MVP and also the tournament’s MVP. The Black Bears ended the historic season with an overall score of 32-17.