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USM Gorham Husky to be Honored with Jersey Retirement

GORHAM, ME (March 31, 2023)  –  Husky legend Vinnie Degifico will have his jersey retired by the University of Southern Maine Department of Athletics on April 22, 2023. 

Honoring one of its all-time greats with a special ceremony in-between its Little East Conference doubleheader versus UMass Boston, Huskies’ baseball and USM Athletics will celebrate Degifico’s tremendous intercollegiate career, and his long term service to Huskies’ Athletics as an assistant coach and USM Ice Arena manager.

Degifico’s No. 23 jersey will be the first uniform retired by the University of Southern Maine Department of Athletics, signifying the enormity of Degifico’s legacy with the Huskies. In 2022,  Degifico tragically passed away from cancer.

“Vinnie is and will remain a key figure in the success of our program both as a player and as a member of the coaching staff,” said veteran head coach Ed Flaherty.  “He is one of the all-time greats to wear a University of Southern Maine uniform.”

In addition to the ceremony and retired number, USM baseball is honoring Degifico during the 2023 season by wearing a No. 23 patch on their uniforms.

Inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 1996 and a member of the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, Degifico was a two-time All-American during his three-year playing career at the University of Southern Maine.  Setting nine program records during his time as a Husky, Degifico led the nation – across all NCAA Divisions – in batting average hitting a remarkable .526 in 1986.  The next season, Degifico hit .390 and knocked out 13 home runs to lead the team to the first of a string of 15 NCAA tournament berths. 

Following his 1987 season with the Huskies, Degifico was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 17th round of the MLB draft.  He played five years within the Red Sox minor league system, advancing to the AA level in New Britain, Conn.  After an injury ended his professional playing career, Degifico returned to Gorham and joined the Huskies’ coaching staff and worked along side of head coach Ed Flaherty for 28 seasons.  Degifico played a critical role in developing the numerous ABCA All-American, All-Region and Little East Conference performers, and he was a member of the Huskies’ coaching staff for a number of Little East Conference Championships, NCAA tournament runs, and its 1997 NCAA Division III National Championship team.

In addition to his coaching duties, Degifico was a member of the Athletic Department’s administration for 24 years, running all aspects of the USM Ice Arena.  An avid supporter of all of Huskies’ athletic teams and student-athletes, Degifico was a fixture during the men’s and women’s hockey season and helped ensure a first class experience for USM student-athletes, fans and opponents. 

“Vinnie was a larger than life character who had a booming voice, an infectious smile and was simply a very enjoyable person to be around. He loved to be in the center of things, help out others and he took pride in whatever he did,” said Athletic Director Al Bean.  “As a baseball player, he remains one of the most powerful hitters I have ever seen.  His home runs and exit velocity are legendary.  His contributions to USM Athletics as a player, assistant coach and ice arena manager were immense.  I’m so pleased that we are retiring his number. It is clearly a fitting tribute for a very deserving individual.  Like so many others, I miss Vinnie every day.”

 Committed to Husky Athletics, and the local community throughout his playing and professional career, Degifico and his wife Cynthia established a scholarship program in his honor through South Portland HS.

 Degifico earned his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Southern Maine in 1994. His son Anthony played for the Huskies, and his daughter Maria is a member of the women’s basketball team.

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