Athletic All-American

Pfeiffer earns place in Bowdoin College Athletic Hall of Honor

Lacrosse was one of his passion as he played, coached, officiated the sport
By Mark Haskell | Nov 19, 2016
Photo by: Mark Haskell Robert Pfeiffer of Lincolnville.

Lincolnville — Robert Pfeiffer was as much a difference maker in his days as a athlete as he has proven to be during his professional life.

And now the 71-year-old, who has spent the past few decades as a guidance counselor, has been recognized for his athletic acumen, notably though his contributions to Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

Pfeiffer was inducted into the Bowdoin College Athletic Hall of Honor on Saturday, Oct. 8, along with five other Polar Bear athletic standouts.

Pfeiffer was the school’s first All-American in lacrosse and was a standout athlete in ice hockey and football as well. He was captain of the football and lacrosse teams his senior year.

He went on to coach several collegiate lacrosse teams, including the University of New Hampshire, Middlebury College of Middlebury, Vt. and Colby College in Waterville. He had winning records in four-year stints at each school and even led Middlebury to the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship in 1975.

Pfeiffer then continued his transition from player, to coach — to referee — as he officiated interscholastic lacrosse in Maine and intercollegiate Division I, II and III lacrosse across New England, including a Division III New England Championship game between Middlebury and Bowdoin.

“You were highly-respected for your acumen in the sport, your fairness and your personal decency,” read Pfeiffer's portion of the hall-of-honor program. “You are among an elite few who have engaged and excelled in a sport at the highest level as a player, a coach and an official.”

Pfeiffer grew up in Waterville, but attended Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H. for four years, graduating in 1963 after having played four years of football, ice hockey and lacrosse.

From the mid-80s, Pfeiffer was a guidance counselor at several schools, including Medomak Valley High School of Waldoboro, Rockland District High School, Messalonskee High School of Oakland and Appleton Village School, while also working on “various projects” at Georges Valley and Camden-Rockport high schools.

He also helped start the lacrosse program at Messalonskee High School.

He opened a private practice — Pfeiffer Counseling Services — with his wife of 22 years, Julianna, that has operated in the Midcoast since 1993.

Pfeiffer got wind of his impending induction while out of the country.

“The letter came while I was in Malawi [Africa],” he said. “I was there for six months all last winter planting trees and I was really getting tired. Food is terrible and I was working my ass off. So this letter came and it really perked me up.

Pfeiffer received the news from his wife over Skype — video chat — with Pfeiffer in Malawi and Julianna in Lincolnville.

“I was really excited,” he said. “I was overwhelmed.”

He added that Bowdoin College put together a terrific ceremony for he and the other five inductees.

“A hundred of my classmates — and we only had 200 in the class — showed up,” he said. “It was really cool to basically have this big reunion in the fall. It was overwhelming, fun and just a blast. I mean jeepers, it was very humbling and a beautiful ceremony. They really did it well.”

Pfeiffer said he had two of the best athletic coaches in the world — Sid Watson and C. Nels Corey — which helped mold his athletic career.

Watson and Corey were two of the first five inducted in the inaugural class of 2002, along with Jill Bermingham Isenhart, Kenneth M. Martin and Joan Benoit Samuelson.

“In terms of learning something about how to do it and how to support and encourage, I had the best mentors in the world,” he said. “So that’s what is so humbling to me is to go into the hall of honor with them.”

Watson played football for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins in the 1950s and also was given the Hobey Baker Legends of College Hockey Award in 2001.

Pfeiffer said Watson “was a tremendous influence to me like another father,” while Corey was “really wonderful” as well.

“I was never that good, but I worked hard with a lot of encouragement from Sid and Nels,” said Pfeiffer. “And I became good over time, so I could encourage people to work hard.”

And the same encouragement he received from coaches he passed on to others, either as a coach himself, an official or through counseling on the field or in life in general.

“I don’t see any difference between coaching and counseling to be honest," Pfeiffer said. "Or parenting. I’m the same person 24 hours a day. I don’t take my hat off and say, ‘I’m done counseling now I’m going to be a father’ or ‘I’m done being a father I’m going to go coach.’ It’s all the same to me. You form a relationship based on trust and you move forward.”

Robert Pfeiffer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Robert Pfeiffer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Comments (2)
Posted by: Lillias Martin | Nov 27, 2016 08:25

a true gentleman in every sense of the word

a wonderful fella


Posted by: Deborah A McKenney | Nov 21, 2016 09:17

Rob is a wonderful man.  Much deserved !!

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