Gerald “Gerry” Duffy was born in East Millinocket and grew into a strong, athletic, yet gentle young man who was friends to everyone. He was eager to pass along his sports knowledge to young coaches without hesitation. He treated every player with respect and dignity; and he represented the schools he coached for with integrity and professionalism.
Gerry began his coaching career at Danforth High School in 1954 after graduating from Ricker College where he was a standout baseball player with enough talent to gain the attention of major league scouts. In 1960 he left for Sherman H.S and then onto Limestone until taking over the Caribou program in 1966. The Vikings’ program had been struggling and Gerry promised to get them in contention for a championship within three years.
His confidence was well deserved as they were right on schedule, winning the 1969 State Championship over Westbrook in one of the most memorable games in state history. Hoop enthusiasts remember it for Mike Thurston’s three-quarter court shot; but as good as Caribou was, they were heavy underdogs going into the game.
The City of Caribou exploded with excitement and pride. The Vikings, led by their young, confident, coach humbly shared the championship with the whole community. That event still holds a special place in the memories of the citizens of Caribou.
Gerry went on to coach a total of thirty-one years and compiled a sparkling 373-151 record, good for a .71 winning percentage. Gerry’s teams made seven trips to the regional finals winning Eastern Maine Championships in 1969 and 1983.
Gerry was always and foremost a teacher. He taught life through athletics as well as in the classroom. He had an old school work ethic, and an enlightened heart; particularly in his relations with kids. There are countless people in the County who remember him with fondness and respect. Gerry Duffy was a true gentleman and a great ambassador for basketball.
Gerry, who passed away on March 16, 2017 is a most deserving inductee into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame.
Gerry and wife Jean lived in Caribou and raised four children, James, Lorry, Mike, and Cathy.