Some Brewer residents may recognize Dana Wilson as the guy who was so diligent caring for the Little League baseball field. Others may know Wilson as a youth coach. Still other, older generation folks may remember Wilson as the offensive machine that produced 2,471 career points while starring for the Husson College basketball team from 1970-74, an era without the 3-point shot.
Few, however, may realize that Wilson has been the driving force behind fund-raising efforts that have injected several thousand dollars into the Brewer Middle School and Brewer High School basketball programs.
Wilson led a fund-raising effort that donated $1,400 to the middle school basketball program last year and the money was used to purchase breakaway rims for the glass backboards, fix and replace wooden backboards and warmup jerseys for the “A” boys team.
In July, Wilson organized a benefit golf tourney that funneled another $1,400 to the middle school basketball program with $700 apiece donated to the boys and girls teams.
Another benefit golf tourney, scheduled this Sunday at Felt Brook Golf Center in Holden, is part of Wilson’s most ambitious fund-raising project that hopes to raise $8,000 to purchase six new glass backboards at the high school gym.
Wilson has taken the lead role in the fund raising and has been active as an assistant coach for his children’s youth teams for two primary reasons.
“Number one, it’s a way to stay close to your kids,” he said. “The other thing is that an awful lot of people did a lot of things for me growing up. Now, I can give a little bit back to the community.”
Wilson’s son, Chris, is in eighth grade and plays basketball, soccer and golf while his daughter, Caitlyn, is a fifth-grader who plays flag football, soccer and basketball.
Wilson became motivated to raise funds for the Brewer programs while helping coach one of Chris’ travel basketball teams. He began to notice that the Brewer facilities could benefit from some added equipment that he had noticed at other schools.
Another motivating factor was the naming of Mark Reed as the new Brewer High School boys basketball coach last season.
“I’m excited about Mark Reed as the new basketball coach and one of his assistants this year is Andy Nickerson [a former standout Brewer athlete],” Wilson said. “That’s two quality people to head up the boys basketball program.”
Wilson’s fund-raising focus has been on glass backboards, he said, because the size of the board is changing and because Brewer had wooden boards on its side hoops, which are used for practice.
“The six inches normally underneath the plate of the rim [on the backboard], that’s gone,” Wilson said, explaining a rationale was safety as players were hitting their heads on that six-inch portion.
The new backboards are also safer and less inclined to shatter, he added.
During the past and ongoing fund-raising efforts, Wilson pointed out that he has received lots of support from Brewer residents, businesses and Brewer High alumni classes.
“Every class that I’ve been able to contact has donated because they know it’s going back into the school,” Wilson said, adding that several former Brewer High athletes have also been supportive.
The projects have also benefited from the work of Rich Kimball, the Brewer Middle School athletic director and the coaches and administration at the high school, Wilson said, adding that he has also received lots of help from Brewer Middle School boys basketball coach Don Stanhope.
Those interested in contributing to the Brewer basketball fund-raising efforts or participating in Sunday’s benefit golf tourney may contact Wilson at 989-1378.
AAU to begin fall league
Maine AAU Basketball is starting a fall league for middle school and high school teams. The season is Oct. 7 to Nov. 4 with two games each Sunday. Interested players or coaches may contact Lenny Holmes at 839-2153.
Joe McLaughlin’s youth sports column is published each Thursday. He can be reached at 990-8229, 1-800-310-8600 or firstname.lastname@example.org