Legacy of commitment and perseverance propel Porrini into UMaine Sports Hall of Fame


Orono, Maine — Stacey Porrini Clingan provided a consistently strong presence for the University of Maine basketball team.


On the court, the 6-foot-4 post player from Bristol, Connecticut, was a constant threat to score from inside, or to pull down a rebound. At the defensive end, Porrini stood as a towering obstacle to opposing shooters.


She also was a supportive presence on the sidelines, in the locker room and among her friends and family. And Porrini’s relentless pursuit of excellence, and her steadying influence among her teammates while representing the Black Bears, have landed her in the UMaine Sports Hall of Fame. 


Porrini is receiving the honor posthumously. She died of breast cancer in March 2018 at age 42.


Porrini joined the Black Bears in 1993, early during a period of growth and unprecedented excellence for the program under head coach Joanne P. McCallie. It was during her final three seasons in Orono that UMaine secured consecutive conference titles and made its first three NCAA Tournament appearances.


Porrini was right in the middle of it all, literally and figuratively, as the Black Bears’ post player. 


She ranks fifth in UMaine history with 929 rebounds and is 17th on the career scoring list with 1,128 points. She averaged 9.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game for her career.


Porrini, who learned the ropes as a freshman behind the likes of poised seniors Steph Guidi and Catherine Gallant, was eager to work hard.


“Stacey was extremely coachable,” McCallie said. “She improved  unbelievably from her freshman year to her senior year.”


Porrini also was a defensive intimidator. She shares UMaine’s marks for blocked shots in a game (7) and blocks in a season (79). She twice garnered all-conference honors as a second-team pick in 1996 and 1997.


During her career, the Black Bears rolled to a 93-26 record, including an impressive 61-5 mark in North Atlantic Conference play.


“She was such a difference maker and a great shot blocker, so she didn’t always have to score, but she had to be in the game,” McCallie said.


Porrini was the first post player recruited by Palombo and assistant coach Katie Abrahamson. One of the things they loved about Porrini, in addition to her height and skills, was the fact she was an accomplished swimmer.


“We knew that she would be really healthy,” said McCallie, who pointed out that Porrini did not miss a single game in four years because of injury.


Porrini served as a captain during her senior season alongside juniors Cindy Blodgett and Sandi Carver. 


Another special dynamic McCallie enjoyed was the warmth and hospitality shown to the coaches by Porrini and her family, particularly her mother, Debbie Porrini, who cooked them a delicious Italian dinner for their recruiting visit to Bristol.


“Her mom, Debbie, is so down to earth and lovely, and so was her father John,” McCallie said. “We enjoyed their company so much.”


Above all, Stacey Porrini was committed to helping UMaine take an important step in its development.


“I was a tough coach, a young coach and she was, without question, one of the most loyal and determined and excited people who wanted to build a program,” McCallie said.


A positive attitude was another important quality exhibited by Porrini, who was ready to battle until the end, regardless of the circumstances.


Former teammate Rita Sullivan called her an eternal optimist.


“She never gave up. She always felt things would work out if you tried your hardest and that kind of attitude spread to her teammates,” Sullivan told the Bangor Daily News in 2018.


Bill Clingan said Stacey’s extensive experience in basketball, swimming and track and field helped hone her sense of being able to remain calm under pressure.


“She was very good at keeping her cool,” he said.


Those are attributes she also demonstrated during her fight against cancer.


“She walked the walk as a person of faith, as a person of determination,” McCallie said. “It was the same grace that she handled her illness with, where she had it and dealt with it and fought it and did everything she could. And then it came back and she had to deal with that.”


After her UMaine career, Clingan transferred her joy in dealing with people to her family, including husband Bill, son Donovan and daughter Olivia. She also shared her motherly qualities with her first grade students.


“She had an unbelievable spirit and connection with children,” McCallie said. 


Bill Clingan said Stacey relished her years at UMaine and made sure to maintain close contact with former teammates and friends.


“It was probably one of her top life experiences, besides our kids,” Clingan said.


“Maine meant everything to her. It was always talked about,” he said. “She had a blast playing basketball for the University of Maine.”

The 2023 UMaine Sports Hall of Fame class will be officially inducted at a banquet held at Jeff’s Catering on Friday, Sept. 29. For more details on this year’s class, please click here.

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