Gonyar, Dave (2016)
“I was very fortunate to have him. Just the intensity, focus and drive that he had. He taught me a lot about the mental side of coaching.”
- Jason Harvey
“My #1 asset in baseball was my competitiveness. This was developed in my childhood. Not by one person but rather by my brothers, neighborhood, community and school. We completed daily and I loved it. There was always a way to get a game in and it was usually competitive. So many excellent leaders that passed on a very strong tradition of completing. It is amazing how many of us from Orono ended up teaching and coaching.”
Dave Gonyar brings a well established pedigree to The Maine Baseball Hall of Fame. Dave was inducted into the Orono High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Bucksport High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010. The family he speaks of would be his late father George, his stepmother Sharon, his mother Patricia, brothers Gary and wife Nonnie, Robert and wife Alice, Brian, and sisters Debbie Flint and husband Bob and Joanie Gay. Dave is the father of Ryan age 22, Ben age 21, and Ally age 19. His significant other is Cara Coffey-Roope. Many people certainly did a lot of things right along the way. We will revisit this competitiveness as the story develops.
At Orono High Dave was the consummate three sport athlete. He lettered in basketball for three years, and in his junior season lead the Red Riots to a state championship over Greely. His gridiron resume is no less impressive. He never experienced losing during his high school career. Orono teams went 36-0 winning four straight LTC Championships and four straight state championships from 1978 to 1981. Dave was all LTC First Team on both offense and defense his junior and senior seasons. Of course you know he also played some baseball while he was there, or you would not be reading this. He was captain of the Riots in both his junior and senior seasons batting over .500 in both years, and was selected as an All Conference player for three years. Dave was the recipient of the prestigious Frederick Burpee Sweater in 1981 and was selected to the National Honor Society that same year.
That combination of intellect, character, and athleticism caught the watchful eye of one Dr. John Winkin at UMaine. Dave’s career as a Black Bear spanned from 1982 to 1986. These were some impressive and memorable years for Maine baseball fans, and Dave played a significant role in that success. He was a member of the 1984 and 1986 UMaine College World Series teams , serving as captain of the 1986 team.
You might remember a home run he hit as a sophomore. It happened in the twelfth inning of the Eastern Regional against Harvard. It was a walk-off which propelled UMaine into the CWS. Quite a flare for the dramatic and a good barometer of that competitiveness. You young folks can google that one if you want to watch it. A teammate named Mark Sutton fanned that competitive flame when he asked Dave to work out with him prior to one season. In Dave’s words,”He showed me what training was really like. I’m sure that I would not have reached my full potential without .” Clearly, that lesson resonated.
Upon graduating in 1986 with a degree in Health, Fitness and Physical Education, Dave began a long and no less successful coaching career at Bucksport. He credits his onetime football coach, Tom Sullivan, for much of his success with the Golden Bucks. Coach Sullivan was instrumental in getting him to Bucksport and some of his “best days” were spent coaching with him there. Good choice, Coach Sullivan! During his tenure at Bucksport from 1988 to 2001, Dave’s teams had a winning percentage of .833 and went to the Eastern Maine Championship game eight times. He also coached the Brewer Falcons American Legion team for ten years leading them to back to back State Titles in 1996 and 1997. Along with Tom Sullivan, Dave cites Coach Winkin for “enhancing his baseball skills, knowledge and passion”, Dennis Kiah and David Paul who were “awesome to be around and from whom he learned so much.”
Dave certainly learned how to pay it forward from some very fine mentors, and he did just that. Though he has worked for Wight’s Sporting Goods and has been the general manager at Gold’s Gym for eight and one half years, his influence is still close to the game. Former player Jason Harvey, the current Husson University coach was quoted in The Bangor Daily News saying of Coach Gonyar, “I was very fortunate to have him. Just the intensity, focus and drive that he had. He taught me a lot about the mental side of coaching.” Another former player from John Bapst, Andrew Catlin put it this way,”With our new coach, we feel really confident.” When Dave returned to coach at Bapst, the AD Rick Sinclair said, “As a person, Dave’s a great guy. And as for what kind of coach he is, that goes without saying. He was just what we were looking for.” So was The Maine Baseball Hall of Fame.
From Bangor Daily News