Bangor, Maine - The Maine Basketball Hall of Fame has announced that Dr. Delmont Merrill '48,'58, Keith Ogden '83 and Thaxter Trafton '61 have been selected as part of its 2018 induction class. They are three of 22 inductees announced on Wednesday morning.
Dr. Delmont Merrill was born Aug. 5, 1925, in Ellsworth, Maine. "Del" graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1943 and then served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. Merrill was a flame thrower for the 5th Marine Division and one of the thousands who stormed the beach on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima.
Merrill returned to live in Ellsworth and graduated from the Bangor Maine School of Commerce, the precursor of Husson University, in 1948 with a business teacher education diploma. While attending the Bangor Maine School of Commerce, Merrill spent two seasons playing Basketball for Phillip N. Harris '47 (HU HOF Class of 1988) and George Husson (Brother of Chesley "Chief" Husson, Sr.). He then taught and coached at Sullivan High School and Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan, Maine.
He returned to Husson in 1953, where he served as a teacher and coached baseball and basketball. He is widely credited with building the school's athletic department. Also, during this period, he served as the first Director of Athletics in Husson's History. His baseball accomplishments at Husson included a record of 186 wins, 88 losses, and four ties, five National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) playoff selections, eight Northeast Collegiate Conference (NCC) Championships, a NAIA District 32 Championship, and was named NAIA District 32 Coach of the Year in 1968, 1969 and 1973. In basketball, his Husson teams won 197 games and lost 86. They won seven NCC Championships and two State of Maine Small College crowns in 1956 and 1958. He was a member of the first class that was inducted in the Husson University Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.
His combined college and high school coaching record was 548-224. Merrill, who also was the state basketball commissioner, was a 1997 inductee into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
He was named president of Husson College in 1978 and often credited his years of coaching as good preparation for being a college president. He retired from education in 1987 and entered the family business, Merrill Blueberry Farm, Inc. At the time of his second retirement in 2009, he had served as president for 17 years. Dr. Merrill passed away on April 19, 2010.
In honor of Dr. Merrill, Husson University's Department of Athletics has named their Male Athlete of the Year Award after him.
Keith Ogden was a three-year letterwinner from 1981-83 as a forward on the Husson men's basketball team, playing for legendary Hall of Fame head coach Bruce MacGregor.
He tallied 1,235 points and 774 rebounds in 80 career games played, while shooting 61.1 percent (514-for-841) from the floor and 75.3 (207-for-275) percent from the free throw line. Ogden averaged 15.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game during his career on the HU hardwood.
Ogden entered the HU Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2003 ranked fifth all-time in field goal percentage, 13th in rebounds, 15th in rebounding average, 20th in scoring average, 21st in field goals made, 22nd in points and free throws made, 26th in free throws attempted, 31st in the free throw percentage, 34th in field goals attempted and tied for 52nd in games played.
His best season in a HU uniform came during his final season on the hardwood, scoring 534 points, while grabbing 332 boards as average of 17.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game en-route to earning NAIA All-District and Maine Men's Basketball Coaches and Writers Association All-State honors.
The senior captain helped guide the Braves to a 64-19 overall record with a NAIA District 5 runner-up finish in 1982 and the program's first NAIA District Championship and NAIA National Championship berth in over eight years in 1983.
Ogden graduated from Husson in 1983.
A native of Bucksport, Maine, Ogden attended Bucksport High School, where he helped led the Golden Bucks to State of Maine Class B Championships in 1978 and 1979 and was a two-time Bangor Daily News All-Maine Honoree.
Thaxter Trafton was a two-year letterwinner on the Husson men's basketball team (1957,59) and the Husson baseball team (1957,61), playing for legendary Hall of Fame head coach and fellow inductee Del Merrill.
On the hardwood, Trafton scored 302 points and grabbed 225 rebounds in 29 career games played, while averaging 10.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He shot 42.5 percent (121-for-285) from the floor and 56.1 percent (60-for-107) from the free throw line.
Trafton helped the Braves two NCC Championships in 1957 and 1959 and was a member of the 1957 State of Maine Small College Runner-Up squad.
At the end of his graduation, Trafton ranked 11th all-time in field throw percentage, tied for 12th in free throws made, 13th in points, 14th in field goals made, 15th in field goals attempted, 16th in free throws attempted and tied for 17th in games played.
On the diamond, Trafton batted .313 (10-for-32) with eight RBIs, ten hits, ten runs scored, three stolen bases and six walks in 13 games played. He helped the Braves earn the 1961 NCC Championship.
After graduating from Husson in 1961, Trafton went on to coach at John Bapst High School of Bangor and was so the executive director of Bass Park in Bangor - home of the Bangor Auditorium - and served as president of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, president and commissioner of the International Basketball league, chief administrative officer of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and executive director of the Arizona State Fair and Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.
He was inducted into the Husson Sports Hall of Fame, and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Trafton was an outstanding player at Morse High School.
The public is invited to celebrate the accomplishments of the hall's newest members at the fifth annual induction ceremony on Aug. 19, at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
For more information about the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame, please visit their website www.MaineBasketballHallofFame.com.