“What if the space be long and wide,
That parts us from our brother’s side
A soul-joined chain unites our band,
And memory links us had in hand.”
(Phi Gamma Delta fraternity song)
There is no fraternal brotherhood like Omega Mu at the University of Maine. We have been a proud fraternal team, in the truest sense of the word, since 1874. Quite simply, we are proud of the beauty of the Castle and our unparalleled fraternal history at the university, and we continue to succeed because we have resilient spirit and aim to succeed in all areas: socially, academically, social service, and athletically.
Athletically, we have had many fraternal brothers who were bona fide athletes on many Maine teams since the very beginning of the university’s athletic history, when the teams were called the Mamelouks and not the Black Bears. That is a heady athletic legacy.
Their sacrifice of time was worth the effort for them and the student body at the University of Maine who watched them play. They created many warm memories since the early 1870’s. For the eminence of their athletic success; and, above all, for being our Omega Mu brothers, we are all very proud.
So, we must remember these QTV and Omega Mu brothers with fraternal amplitude because these brothers, with sound unflinching desire and instinct, are part of our proud athletic at the University of Maine. Their considerable accomplishments claim our fraternal attention and respect, and they show us something fundamental about character and life. Therefore, we gratefully remember and celebrate our QTV and Omega Mu brothers who participated on many varsity athletic teams at the University of Maine. Our fraternal athletic scorecard is historically long and deep: QTV and Omega Mu Fiji athletes.
Omega Mu Athlete,
George P. Dulac,
Omega Mu Years
1968 mud bowl. Back Row: Spook, Andrew Flaherty, Dave Smith, John Rhodes, Jimmy Dunn, Glenn Smith, Paul Dulac?, John Dolan, George Wiest, Jim Chaplin. Front Row: Ernie Niles, ?, Bob Duetsch, Robert Van Dyke, Tyler Libby, George Thomas, Jack McBrayne
Omega Mu Housemothers, 1966-1970
Ruth C. Hammond, Alma Pratt, Clara Hammond
University of Maine Football
When the Freshman Football Recruits arrived on campus in August of 1966, I think I was not alone in being unable to see beyond the 3 weeks of grueling preseason looming ahead. What we didn’t know at the time was that the seed of a new brotherhood had been sown and was being nurtured with every passing day.
Forty young men ranging in age from 18 to 25 years old descended on UMO’s campus that August determined to play Freshman Football for the University. We came from all over New England, New York, New Jersey and some most recently from Vietnam. This class was eerily similar to the UMO Freshman class of 1945-46. In each case 18 year old kids found themselves coming together with war veterans to form a freshman class.
Jimmy Fitzgerald, ex-paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne played on the defensive side of the ball that late summer. Famous for saying “God, this is fun” in the midst of the rest of us throwing up after doing wind-sprints. At the time none of us thought that maybe jumping into the jungle while being shot at by North Vietnamese Regulars might be a little more daunting than our rigorous practices.
Johnny Rhodes (71), Staff Sargent, USMC had returned from tours as a Jar Head leader in the jungles of Vietnam in 1967, only months before landing on the UMO campus. He wanted to play football for the Bears. The veterans of this era were all about 24 years old on average and had seen much more of life than the rest of us strapping on shoulder pads at the same time. I remember all of this like it was yesterday but it was 56 years ago.
On a warm late August afternoon in “66”, Freshman Football players gathered at the Student Union relaxing in shorts and flip flops. We were looking at the recent female arrivals on campus. It was nice to see the fairer sex after weeks of tackling guys in the dirt. The conversation that afternoon centered not on girls, but on fraternity rushing.
The fraternity brothers from various houses were already starting to recruit freshman football players. The “Jock Houses” on campus at the time were Phi Mu, Kappa Sig, Phi Eta and Sigma Chi. Phi Gamma Delta, as a recruiting house was conspicuously absent. Many of us were not particularly interested in the houses most active in asking us to consider pledging. Almost simultaneously a few of us asked each other this question, “why don’t we pick a Fraternity and all pledge it so we can stay together over the next four years?” Many laughed at the notion but some of us didn’t. We were seriously considering the idea that we could further our relationship with one another off the field as well as on it. “Why not?’ Just because it hadn’t been done before….?”
FIJI was not in the running initially because Grant Watkins was the only FIGI brother playing football. Everyone liked Grant a lot but other houses had 12 to 15 football player brothers all of whom were working on us at once. The Freshman Football Team for the next month or two continued to discuss the notion as we visited all the “Greek Getaways”. We partied and attended the social events. The process of elimination was almost unconscious; certainly not deliberate but eventually crept to the surface: “Let’s give FIJI a try!”
At the end of the day, “wet behind the ears” 18 year olds like me partnered up with other Freshman Football Players. We arrived at the “Castle” fully prepared to take it over, sort of? We engaged in Hell Week activities, many conducted by my future brother-in-law, Tyler Libby, (Uncle Ty Ty’s Tasty Treats) and in spite of all this brotherly love we continued to laugh our way through it. Johnnie Rhodes seemed to chuckle his way through spitting the fire out in 67.
I remember my 1966-67 UMO Freshman football team FIJI Pledge Class very well. We began as brothers on the gridiron and then continued as FIJI brothers. Today we sometimes see each other in April at Pig dinner and reminisce on these times; they are some of my fondest of memories. You may recognize some of these very grand brothers: the late Johnnie Rhodes(honorary 66 pledge class member), John Collins, Mike O’Leary, Tony Flaherty, Johnny Kimball, Paul Pooler and myself. Perge’
Paul Dulac: FIJI Pledge Class of 66-67
Captain of the University of Maine football team, 1969
Fiji Brothers: John Collins, Paul Pooler, Paul Dulac, Anthony Flaherty, John Kimball.
Varsity Team, 1967
Fiji Brothers: Paul Dulac, #55; John Collins, #41; Mike O'Leary, #89; John Kimball, #68, Grant Watkins, #23; Paul Pooler, #54
Varsity Team, 1968
Fiji Brothers: Grant Watkins, Paul Dulac, Mike O'Leary, Dick Paganucci, Richard Rhodes, John Collins, Paul Pooler, John Kimball, Chris Eaton.
Varsity Team, 1969
Fiji Brothers: Paul Pooler, Captain Paul Dulac, John Collins, John Rhodes, Chris Eaton, Dick Paganucci, Pat Ladd, Paul Roy, Jim Hayes, John Kimball, Dick Rhodes, Ed O'Bara, John Zinno.
All Fiji Football Team, 1968
Paul Dulac and John Collins
Furthering through perseverance”
Chip Chapman, ’82