|Title:||Student-Athlete: Football, Basketball, Baseball|
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Lawrence "Bud" Lyford was an outstanding three sport athlete at Brewer High School, from his sophomore year through his senior year, graduating in 1941. While he was a gifted basketball and baseball player, he excelled at football. Lyford broke into the football lineup in the fall of 1938 as a sophomore. The burly, rugged fullback was a hard runner and tackler and was once described to “hit with the force of a locomotive”! Even the Bangor Daily News reported there were “few sophomore athletes in these parts that are more promising then the rugged Bud Lyford as he was outstanding against Bangor”. Lyford performed with a determination that was inspiring to his older teammates. It would not be uncommon to see Lyford with half the opposing team on his shoulders bulling his way eight yards or more for a touchdown. Whether smashing the line or backing it up, Lyford had great instincts; he even accumulated several interceptions as well. During his senior year, Lyford was the second leading scorer in the State. In the fall of 1940, Lyford became the first football player in Brewer history to be selected to the first team All Maine Schoolboy Football Team.
An excellent basketball player, Lyford was a great guard and had superior speed. He was the only sophomore to make the Brewer varsity team. Well-known for his outstanding defense and beautiful backcourt work, Lyford, along with fellow Brewer Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee Slip Corey, often held opponents to less than five points in a period. Lyford was co-captain his junior year and captain his senior year.
In baseball, Lyford was among the best in the area. He was also known to keep up a rapid line of chatter from the catcher’s position. The rugged Brewer catcher also pitched for the Witches when he was needed which was then and still is quite uncommon. Lyford’s leadership also emerged on the baseball field as he served as the team’s captain his senior year.
Because of Lyford’s competitive spirit, the highly successful Football Coach Dana Dougherty took a liking to him almost immediately. Dougherty coached Lyford in all three sports and noted that Lyford was also a good student having “more A’s on his report cards since he enrolled at Brewer High than you will find in a can of alphabet soup!” His senior year, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of Brewer High School’s yearbook, the Trident. At the final assembly at Brewer High School in 1941, Lyford was selected as the Most Outstanding Male Athlete.
Lyford went on to play football for the University of Maine in the fall of 1941 where he played in the backfield on the Freshman Team alongside his most formidable high school foe from Bangor, Windy Work. The two were known as the “Freshmen Touchdown Twins”. Lyford’s sophomore year, the rugged 5’11’, 192lb. halfback was deemed by a local newspaper as “the surprise of the year”. As a sophomore in the fall of 1942, Lyford was selected to the All Maine College Eleven Team which was comprised of players from the University of Maine, Bowdoin, Colby and Bates Colleges. Lyford was noted as the most rugged of the backs selected.
Lyford also played baseball at the University of Maine. Continuing to show his athleticism and dominance behind the plate as well as on the mound he started most games as a catcher or pitcher. This duality of serving as catcher or pitcher when needed, skills he mastered at Brewer High School, made him a very valuable asset to the Black Bears. Lyford was named to the University of Maine Varsity M Club for baseball and football.
Lyford attended the University of Maine for only two years from 1941 to 1943 until the end of his sophomore year when he left the University to fight in World War II. He served his country from 1943-1946 in the 104th Infantry, the Timberwolf Division of the U.S. Army. He saw active duty in Belgium, Holland and Germany. He was wounded on November 30, 1944 in Germany, and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Upon returning from WW ll, Lyford played semi-pro baseball for a period of time for teams based in Brewer. He was the owner/operator of Thompson & Lyford Hardware located in downtown Brewer for 40 years. As a businessman, he sponsored the Thompson & Lyford Little League teams for many years. He was also very supportive of other youth athletic programs such as farm league baseball, basketball and football. Lyford served as Chairman of the Board for Brewer Parks and Recreation and was a benevolent member of the Brewer Boosters Club. Not only was he the leading consultant on how to properly take care of the grass surface at Doyle Football Field, he served as a basketball referee for many years and also received the honor of refereeing during the New England Regional Basketball Tournament. Due to their philanthropy, Bud Lyford and his wife Jean were named Brewer “Citizens of the Year” in 2009.
During the war, Mr. Lyford married his high school sweetheart Jean Thompson. The Lyfords were married for 70 years until Bud’s passing in 2014 at the age of 90. Lifelong residents of Brewer, they raised two children, Susan Lyford Xiranachs and Peter Lyford and were exceptionally proud of their two grandchildren Liana and Ryan and their three great-grand children, Haylee, Natalie and Andrew.