Maine Black Bears

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: America East
Past Conferences: North Atlantic Conference, ECAC North, Yankee, Independent

City: Orono, ME


Stadium: Cross Insurance Center

NCAA Tournaments: None

Championships:

National Championships: None

Conference Titles: None

Team History

Nestled deep in Maine, in the town of Orono, the Black Bears have been primarily a women’s basketball and hockey school over the years. The men’s basketball team is one of 35 eligible Division I teams never to have made the NCAA Tournament, and few of those programs have been around as long as Maine. The NCAAB odds for that to change are not great.

The Black Bears joined the Yankee Conference for its inaugural season in 1937-38 and played in that league until the mid-1970s. They then became part of the ECAC North, which turned into the NAC and then the modern-day America East, which has been Maine’s conference home since its start in 1996.

Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire are the only three teams to stay with the league through each of those iterations. The Black Bears have never won a league title, and they enter the 2022-23 season with nine straight campaigns of nine or fewer wins. Maine has had a sub-.500 record in 16 of the last 18 seasons since the 2004 edition that reached the America East Conference tournament finals.

There were some good times, however. Under John Giannini from 1996-2004, the Black Bears went 125-111, posting a school-record of 24 wins in 1999-2000. Led by one-time Boston College transfer Nate Fox, the Maine Black Bears team stats that season featured a league-leading field-goal percentage of 48.8 and the conference’s top mark from the arc (37.4%)

However, since the 2010-11 team went 15-15, the program has endured a brutal 75-238 stretch with four head coaches. Chris Markwood was hired on March 1st, 2022, after the squad went 6-23 in 2021-22 and finished last in the AEC. Only three of their six wins came against Division I opponents.

Maine hasn’t won an America East tournament game since 2005, losing 16 straight in the annual event.

All-Time Records

  • Points Scored
    • Rufus Harris: 2,206
    • Bob Warner: 1,758
    • Gerald McLemore: 1,657

 

  • Rebounds
    • Bob Warner: 1,304
    • Allen Ledbetter: 1,017
    • Jeff Cross: 894

 

  • Assists
    • Marty Higgins: 619
    • Casey Arena: 574
    • Deonte Hursey: 446

 

  • Wins
    • Skip Chappelle: 217
    • John Giannini: 125
    • Brian McCall: 120

 

FAQs

What Is the Highest Win Total in Program History?

In 1999-2000, Maine won 24 games and finished second in an America East won by Hofstra, which had two future NBA players on its roster. The Black Bears’ three conference losses came by a total of 12 points. Four players averaged at least 12.7 points, led by Nate Fox (17.5).

 

What Was the Worst Season in Program History?

Bob Walsh went 24-100 in four rough seasons at Orono, with a 3-27 showing in 2014-15. The team’s only non-conference win that season came in overtime at home against Wagner, and it averaged only 57.6 points per game in conference play.

 

Who Is the Greatest Player in Program History?

Rufus Harris, the program’s all-time leading scorer, was drafted by the Boston Celtics after winning the conference player of the year award as a senior. He never made it in the NBA but averaged 18.8 points in a multi-year career in the CBA. Harris averaged 25.6 points for the Black Bears as a senior.

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