Kane, Dan (2016)
“He was one of the greatest hitters I ever coached. He may be the university’s top hitter of all time.”
“I have always loved playing baseball, especially hitting. There is nothing better than hitting a baseball and going into a trot or running hard for second base and sliding in safe.”
Anyone who has spent much time talking with Dan Kane would most likely tell you that he sees baseball and life as being intertwined. The vicissitudes of life are mirrored in the streaks and slumps, the wins and losses. Teammates are family members who look after and bring out the best in each other. Many times bringing out the best involves giving praise and encouragement. Other times, it entails making those we care about face some hard and perhaps uncomfortable truths about their commitment and the effort necessary to reach their goals. The very best parents, coaches, friends and teammates not only give their best to each other; they expect the best back in return.
The early innings began for Dan in a household made up of his parents, Walter and Patricia, who are able to enjoy this day with him, and six brothers: Scott, Chris, Steven, Douglas, Patrick and Jamie. Seven boys is only two short of a team. One thing is for certain: they were already pretty well set in one outfield spot. As a standout athlete at Ellsworth High School, Dan played baseball, basketball and soccer earning ten varsity letters. During his stay there, the Eagles won a state championship in 1983. That same year he was MVP of American Legion Zone One. Curiously, it is pretty fortunate that Dan was a soccer player, because that is where Coach John Winkin first spotted him. It was an Eastern Maine Championship game played against Waterville, the school Coach Winkin’s son attended.
“The sweeper was different in that game, and Ellsworth won,” said Winkin, “And I knew that day that Danny Kane was the competitor I was looking for.” More about that later.
“The pitcher has only got the ball. I’ve got a bat. So the percentage is in my favor, and I let the fellow with the ball do the fretting.” - Hank Aaron
Who is surprised that this would be Dan’s favorite baseball related quotation? He made quite a name for himself while he spent his middle innings at The University of Maine during a four year career as a DH and outfielder. The list of accolades is a lengthy one:
Citrus Tournament at Pan American University All Tournament DH
Played in the College World Series
Highest team batting Average
All Tournament DH Northeast Regionals
Jody Ramsay Tournament at Pan American University All Tournament Outfielder
Played in the College World Series
Florida International All Tournament Team DH
Captain of the Black Bears
University of Minnesota Wheaties Tournament of Champions All Tournament OF
ECAC All New England Outfielder
ECAC Player Of The Year
School and New England Record set - Most Doubles- Season 19
Career UMaine Records – Doubles – 48, Hits – 217, RBI’s – 158, Games Played – 190
Inducted into The University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame
In his spare time he was also a two time All Star of The Portland Twilight League, and its MVP and Home Run King in 1988. Coach Winkin said, “He was one of the greatest hitters I ever coached. He may be the university’s top hitter of all time.” Surely we can accept his opinion.
“Danny is one of the most respected coaches in Maine. Whatever he does, he makes it fun, and you know his guys are going to compete.” - Dr. John Winkin. It is probably not fitting to say we have reached the late innings because there does not appear to be an end in sight for Dan’s time in baseball. After all, at least for now, baseball remains the game in which there is no clock. For young men in the areas surrounding Blue Hill, that is a good thing because that means time is not running out on Coach Dan Kane. That stage began in 1989 when he was the JV and Assistant Coach of a State Championship Ellsworth team skippered by Maine Baseball Hall of Famer Jack Scott. Oh yes, somewhere between innings Dan and Arnie, his wife of twenty four years, were married, and son Nicholas, who is now twenty three, became part of the family. From Ellsworth, Coach Kane embarked on a career of coaching at George Stevens Academy which has spanned twenty seven years and appears to be going strong. His coaching record at GSA is no less impressive than that of his playing career: 362- 136-2 Won/loss record; Nine Eastern Maine Championships - 89, 94, 96, 97, 02, 03, 04, 05, 09; Three State Championships - 1997, 2003, 2004; Four Peter Webb Sportsmanship Awards - 2002, 2008, 2009, 2015; MPA Good Sportsmanship Award; 2011 NFHS State of Maine Coach of the Year; PVC Coach of the Year
Coach Kane has also coached American Legion Baseball for four summers (Zone One Coach of the Year 2010), six seasons of coaching Coastal Junior Little League, twenty seven years running a summer baseball clinic for the Blue Hill Activities Group and seven years running “Covering All the Bases” baseball clinic at GSA. Dan cites Coach Winkin as the person who made the greatest impression on him in his baseball life. “Coach Winkin was the most organized and intelligent baseball person I have ever met. He had a way of finding winners and putting them together to make great teams. Many of his players didn’t have the perfect tools. He just knew how to get the most out of what gifts the player possessed. He helped make me a better player and person both on and off the field.” I am thinking those words remind some young men in the Blue Hill area of another coach quite a bit closer to home. Jim Murphy, Dan’s longtime AD, put it this way, “He (Dan) taught them not only baseball, but how to be a better person by stressing sportsmanship, camaraderie, caring, and what it means to compete.” Former player Matt Haney had these words, “An example of the fondness he engenders came at an alumni event several years ago. Coach Kane invited all of his former players back for a little baseball and pig roast. At least sixty players from his twenty five years of coaching showed up to the festivities. Coach Kane threw each one of us batting practice. Remarkably, where we all liked the ball and was able to put it there for us”
Let’s bring back Coach Winkin to close this one out. “Danny Kane will tell you that anybody you coach automatically becomes a son- like one of your family. I would put my life in his hands; he is a man of integrity, and whatever he does in life is quality.” Surely we can accept his opinion.
Weekly Packet Blue Hill
by Monique Labbe
George Stevens Academy head baseball coach Dan Kane was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame over the weekend as part of the 46th annual induction ceremony held at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.
On Saturday, Kane and the other inductees were acknowledged on the field during a Portland Sea Dogs game at Hadlock Field, where they received a formal introduction to the fans in the stadium.
Hadlock Field is also where the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame is physically located, with photos, names and induction years on the wall.
Sunday night was the induction ceremony itself, which Kane said was an “awesome experience.”
“The Maine Baseball Hall of Fame put together a good program [during the weekend],” said Kane.
Kane had 24 friends, family, former players and representatives from George Stevens Academy in attendance for the ceremony.
Each inductee received a plaque and a personalized baseball bat.
Kane, whose most recent accomplishment was leading the George Stevens Academy Eagles to a Class C North regional championship in a walk-off win over Houlton in June. The Eagles were defeated by Sacopee Valley in the State Championship, by a score of 3-2.
Kane has been the head coach for the George Stevens Academy baseball team for 28 years, during which time he led his players to appearances in 17 Class C Eastern Maine title games, including this season’s. Of the 17, Kane’s Eagles took home nine Eastern Maine championships and three Class C state titles.
Kane won his first state championship as a coach during the 1989 season, the first time a GSA baseball team had ever taken home a title.
A graduate of Ellsworth High School and a standout on the school’s baseball team, Kane went on to play baseball at the University of Maine.
Kane was one of nine Maine baseball standouts named to this year’s Hall of Fame induction class. The 2016 class also included former University of Maine players John Sawyer and Dave Gonyar, along with longtime umpire Ralph Damren, Dan Deshaies, Thom Freeman, Mike Mazerall, Gary Williamson and Amel Kiszonak, who was inducted posthumously. Retired Portland Press Herald sports writer Tom Chard received the Sonny Noel President’s Award.
From Bangor Daily News GSA good sportsmanship award
BLUE HILL — Good sportsmanship is a longstanding tradition for the George Stevens Academy baseball team, under the watchful eye of Head Coach Dan Kane. For four consecutive years, and seven of the last 18, the Eagles have been awarded the Peter Webb Good Sportsmanship Award.
The award, named after a longtime official in Maine, goes to a team in Class C or D whose players, coaches and team staff “have shown outstanding sportsmanship throughout the season,” according to the Eastern Maine Baseball Umpires Association, which bestows the award.
The Maine Principals Association also honored the squad with its sportsmanship award in 2013.
“It is important to us that the team plays well and handles themselves with class,” said Kane, and they take “pride in knowing that other teams and officials respect us for the way we go about our game,” which incorporates a focus on “respecting players, coaches, opponents, umpires, fans and the game of baseball.” These ideals are promoted by the school’s coaching staff, which also includes Assistant Coach Bill Gray and JV Coach Scott Kane.
Winning games takes more than respect, it also takes hard work and a competitive spirit. “As a team, we display a competitive spirit on a daily basis with an attempt to win in both practices and games,” Dan Kane said.