Bunny Parady was posthumously inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame at a ceremony Aug. 20 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Parady, who coached at the former Mount Desert High School from 1954-1968 and the consolidated Mount Desert Island High School from 1968-80, made the state tournament 23 times and won a total of four state championships. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

‘Bunny’ Parady enshrined in Hall of Fame



BANGOR — On a stage full of faces that have defined basketball history in the state of Maine, one that wasn’t there stood out.

Scott Parady poses for a photo with his daughter Cassidy Parady at the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony Aug. 20. Scott’s father, Bernard “Bunny” Parady, was one of 18 inductees in the 2017 class. PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT PARADY

In front of hundreds of guests in a dimly lit ballroom at Bangor’s Cross Insurance Center, Scott Parady stepped up to speak. He was there to give a posthumous introduction for his father, legendary Mount Desert Island basketball coach Bernard “Bunny” Parady, at the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

“I’d like to thank the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame for bestowing this honor upon my dad,” he said. “I’m very proud of who my dad was.”

Bunny Parady, who coached at the former Mount Desert High School and the consolidated MDI High School from 1954-80, made more than just his family proud for his coaching prowess. The former boys’ basketball coach became an island legend during his time on the hardwood, which included four state championships and an astounding 360-86 record.

As one of 18 inductees in the Hall of Fame’s 2017 class Sunday, Bunny Parady’s place was forever cemented in Maine basketball lore. With that induction, the stories of his achievements now join those of other teams, players and moments that live on forever.

A walk around the concourse at the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame at the Cross Center is a reminder that those moments and the people who create them rarely, if ever, come together in an instant. Even the ones that seem to unfold in a matter of seconds are products of years of practice and resilience, and there are times when the path to those moments is a bit unorthodox.

As Scott Parady noted, this was the case with his father’s journey, which actually started with the job he didn’t get. Bunny had originally sought a coaching job at Southwest Harbor High School in 1954. But that position instead went to another candidate. In the process, though, he learned about the job at nearby Mount Desert High School in Northeast Harbor.

The rest was history.

“From 1954-80 – almost three decades – there weren’t many basketball fans in Eastern Maine who didn’t know about the Mount Desert Mustangs and the Mount Desert Island Trojans,” said Scott, the youngest of five children. “He was a burning presence in the auditorium.”

That auditorium at MDI High is now named the Bernard Parady Gymnasium in his honor. It has been home to numerous championship teams across multiple sports, including the 2016-17 MDI boys’ basketball team – a squad that, fittingly, won its first state championship since the island high schools were consolidated almost 50 years ago. That gold ball victory came two months after news of Bunny Parady’s induction was first announced.

Although Bunny, who died in 1997, didn’t live to see either that championship or his induction, his success as both a head coach and an administrator was instrumental in creating both. That success was clear years before either of those feats came to fruition, but a place among Maine’s finest players and coaches will ensure it remains so forever.

“[My father] was a fierce competitor who understood that winning was an important goal, but not the ultimate goal,” Scott Parady said. “He was a positive enforcer who showed what sportsmanship, camaraderie and team effort could achieve. That’s how we want him to be remembered.”

 

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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