Who are the Bryants and Sabans of Maine sports?

University of Maine hockey coach Shawn Walsh complains angrily to linesman-associate referee Tom Carpenito after Carpenito called a five-minute major and game disqualification on Maine captain Cory Larose with 1:16 left in Maine's 5-2 triumph over Michigan in an NCAA Eastern Regional Tournament quarterfinal in March of 2000. Walsh coached UMaine to national titles in 1993 and 1999. (Anthony Robert La Penna/BDN)

University of Maine hockey coach Shawn Walsh complains angrily to linesman-associate referee Tom Carpenito after Carpenito called a five-minute major and game disqualification on Maine captain Cory Larose with 1:16 left in Maine’s 5-2 triumph over Michigan in an NCAA Eastern Regional Tournament quarterfinal in March of 2000. Walsh coached UMaine to national titles in 1993 and 1999. (Anthony Robert La Penna/BDN)

So one of the storylines down in Alabama these days is…if Nick Saban beats Clemson and wins another national title, does that make him bigger and better than the legendary Bear Bryant?

After all, Saban would have 4 national championships in 9 seasons as ‘Bama boss. Bryant had 6 in 25 seasons at ‘Bama.

The whole thing got me thinking about Bryants and Sabans in Maine coaching history…

— The first ‘Bear Bryant’ of Maine I think of is Shawn Walsh. You only win that first national championship once in 1993. And then another title comes in 1999. Can any coach win more than that and be the ‘Saban’ of Maine hockey?

— How about George Wentworth…the ‘Bear Bryant’ of Stearns basketball in Millinocket. Will there be a ‘Saban’? How about Art Greenlaw for Stearns football?

— On Mayflower Hill in Waterville, will anyone challenge Colby coach Dick Whitmore for ‘Bear Bryant’ status?

— In college baseball, there was Jack Butterfield at UMaine…and then came John Winkin. It begs the question of who’s ‘Bryant’ and who’s ‘Saban’!

— Did Roger Reed overtake ‘Bryant’ status from Red Barry at Bangor HS?

—  At Lawrence High School…how about Gus ‘Bryant’ Folsom to Mike ‘Saban’ McGee.

— I dare someone take ‘Bryant’ status from Skowhegan HS field hockey coach Paula Doughty.

—  How about ‘Bryant’ to ‘Saban’ thing with Winslow HS football…Harold ‘Tank’ Violette to Mike Siviski.

— In Portland-Gorham, isn’t Richard “Doc’ Costello the real ‘Bear Bryant’ and coaches like Gary Fifield and Ed Flaherty are ‘Sabans’?

— In Bucksport, how about the Bob Carmichael to Tom Sullivan to Joel Sankey football legacy. You pick your ‘Bryants’ and ‘Sabans’.

— Dave Jeffrey, Phil Emery, Terry Meagher, Bruce MacGregor, Ken Perrone, Gerry Duffy, Dave Ploch, Dwight Littlefield, John ‘Jack’ Kelley, Brian Higgins, Del Merrill, Bunny Paradis…the list goes on and on. You decide who’s a ‘Bryant’ and who’s a ‘Saban’.