Coach/Teammates Influence Giving
In his University of Maine football career, Walter Abbott led his UMaine Black Bear team to greatness on and off the field.
For Dick Todd ’72, “[Walt] had a tremendous positive influence on my development as a young man. It was time to do something that would help other future students and also to recognize Walt” Dick and his wife, Maureen, now live in Maineville, Ohio, but Dick remembers growing up in the University of Maine culture. “My dad grew up in Freedom, Maine, and my grandmother was always taking art classes in the summer,” said Dick. His family’s influence led him to attend the University of Maine in 1968.
Maureen and Dick lived in Hancock and Gannet Halls, respectively, for their first years. Dick became a walk-on UMaine football player and Maureen matriculated in the speech pathology program in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dick was number 73 on the football team, and looked forward to his training camp every summer, “Walt seemed to greet me each year at preseason camp with a new challenge. He knew my skill set and it didn’t include any position where I had to handle the ball. I was destined for the line,” said Dick. Aher just one year of high school football, Dick’s passion for the sport was drawn out by Walt Abbott, as well as his teammates.
When it came time to decide how Dick and Maureen would give back to their alma mater, Dick was again influenced by his coach and teammates: “I met with two of my former teammates who were active donors. We were all at Maine when the Athletic Department was recognizing Walt for his 50 years of service. Gene Benner (’70) and Rod Sparrow (’71) had been generous contributors and offered me some excellent perspectives,” Dick said.
In addition to their generous giving and alumni status, Maureen and Dick are also a Bear Pair; a couple who met at UMaine, and who have stayed together ever since r Dick recounts the day he met Maureen: “Maureen and I met when Walt asked several seniors to take some prospective players to a basketball game. She was sitting in the bleachers next to a mutual friend. We have been happily married for 42 years and are blessed with two children and six grandchildren.”