Skowhegan dedicates gymnasium to longtime teacher, coach

Skowhegan Area High School dedicated its refurbished gymnasium to one of its most popular teacher-coaches during ceremonies between the Indians’ boys and girls home varsity basketball games against Lawrence of Fairfield last Friday evening.

A plaque to be mounted above the doors entering the gymnasium honors the late Donald D. “Fin” Finley, who served his alma mater from 1981 to 2015 as a teacher, coach and athletic administrator.

The plaque was a gift of the school’s Class of 2017, which was instrumental in the dedication effort, according to current SAHS athletic administrator Jon Christopher.

“From my perspective, Fin was a first-class representative of Skowhegan Area High School in every possible way,” said Christopher. “He loved Skowhegan and worked every day to make Skowhegan Area High School and the Skowhegan community a better place. His positive energy inspired people to do things that they never thought they could do and his sense of humor made folks comfortable in his presence from their very first interaction.”

Finley, a Skowhegan native, also graduated from the University of Maine before joining the U.S. Army and serving in Vietnam from 1970 to 1972.

Finley soon began a 35-year tenure on the faculty at Skowhegan Area High School where he taught in the social studies department and was the Indians’ varsity baseball coach from 1982 through 1998 as well as a fixture as the school’s football statistician and basketball scorekeeper and clock operator.

He was named the school’s athletic administrator in 2012.

Finley died in a New Hampshire hospital on Dec. 19, 2015, at age 67.

“His impact on Skowhegan athletics as a coach, clock operator, statistician and athletic director was great, and we are forever grateful for all of his work with our athletes and coaches,” said Christopher. “Fin’s positions have been filled since his passing in 2015, but he will never be replaced and he is missed greatly.

“There are very few people in this world who are ever as committed and dedicated to a school and community in the way that Fin always was committed to Skowhegan Area High School!”

Ernie Clark

About Ernie Clark

I'm a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, my coverage areas range from high school sports to mixed martial arts.