Chapter one began in the fall of 1956 as John McNabb, Jr. entered Thornton Academy. During his tenure at TA, John earned four varsity letters, two each in basketball and golf. As a senior, he captained the basketball team that posted a 15-3 regular season record. John averaged 10 points per game as a senior and had a career high 22 points in a late-season win over Sanford. That win resulted in TA capturing the York County L League title and earning the 2nd seed in the Western Maine tournament. After winning its first round game vs. Deering, TA bowed out in the semifinal round.
After playing baseball as a freshman, John opted to play golf thereafter. At the time, golf was a spring season sport. During his junior and senior years, he played at the #1 position. John continued playing those two sports at Colby College, earning varsity letters in basketball in his junior and senior years. He earned three varsity letters as a member of the Colby golf team and was elected captain for the 1964 season. In 1964, John fin-ished third in the New England Intercollegiate Individual Golf Championship.
Chapter Two. Make no mistake—and the three other brothers would agree—the twins David and Dennis cemented the McNabb legacy. Their senior year is arguably the best athletic year of the 1960s at TA, capturing the 1962 state football championship and graduating with the 1963 Telegram League title — the last baseball league title before this past spring of 2019.
David and Dennis were co-captains of the 1962 state champion football team, which defeated St. Louis High School 13-7 in a season-ending classic between two undefeat-ed teams. After the game, Coach Brad Leach presented them with game balls for their outstanding play and quoted St. Louis coach Bob Cote as saying, “There were two too many McNabbs on the field today.” The championship season resurrected TA football. The program had gone winless in 1959 and won only one game in 1960. For their efforts both halfback David and quarterback Dennis were named to the Sunday Tele-gram All Maine Class A football team.
On the baseball diamond, David played catcher and Dennis played 3rd base on the 1963 Telegram League championship team. David was named to the 1963 All-Telegram team. As juniors, both David and Dennis were named to the 1962 All-Telegram team. As a catcher, David hit .406 finishing third in the league. Dennis played shortstop, hitting .357 which placed him 5th in the league. Over the span of three varsity seasons (1961, 1962, 1963) David collected 59 hits, compiling a batting average of .316 while
Dennis collected 60 hits resulting in a batting average of .312. Their baseball careers should also note the accomplishment of their summer legion baseball teams. Owen-Davis Post won the state title in 1962 and was runner-up in 1963.
The twins were starters for three years on the basketball team. David scored 531 and Dennis scored 467 career points. The team qualified for the Western Maine Class LL Tournament in all three years.
Following graduation from Thornton Academy, David attended Bowdoin College. He played football for four years, lettering twice. Playing fullback during his junior year, David averaged 7.4 yards per carry, establishing a Bowdoin record that still stands to-day. In addition, he played baseball for three years, lettering twice.
Dennis also attended Bowdoin College. He played football for one year, basketball for two years and baseball for three years, earning a letter as a sophomore.
Chapter three is a lesson in overcoming adversity. As a sophomore Steve McNabb re-vealed promise of things to come: starting as a defensive back on the varsity football team, playing on the varsity basketball team (which, behind the play of Bob Warner, advanced to the Western Maine Class L championship game) and starting at third base on the varsity baseball team. During the ensuing summer, he led the American Legion league in batting with an average of .483.
All those possibilities were dashed in the fall of his junior year. After earning the nod as starting QB and safety, Steve sustained a devastating knee injury early in the season. Despite several surgeries, Steve never fully recovered from the injury, but did manage to return to play first base for the baseball team in his senior year. Two years removed from his last baseball season and playing with extremely limited mobility, Steve posted the highest batting average in the Telegram League (426) and was named to the All-Telegram League team. During that season he never struck out.
Chapter Four in the McNabb saga starred the youngest of the brothers, Jeffrey. Jeff earned seven varsity letters in four sports during his four years at Thornton. His fall seasons found him on the gridiron. In 1974, his junior year, Jeff was an outstanding two way player on an 8-0-1 team that won the South Division championship, but lost 22-8 in the state championship game versus Waterville. In that game, Jeff staked TA to an early 8-0 lead with an opening drive TD run and a two-point conversion. He was named to the All-State football first team as a defensive back while also receiving hon-orable mention honors as a running back.
Jeff earned varsity letters in his junior and senior years playing basketball. He excelled as a defensive player, and was consistently called on to guard the opponent’s best offensive player.
Spring season saw Jeff on the baseball diamond. As a sophomore, playing with his old-er brother Steve on the 1974 varsity team, Jeff earned his letter. A chronic shoulder problem cut his baseball career short. Still craving athletic competition, he turned to golf and earned letters in his junior and senior years.
Their parents, the late John and Barbara McNabb, were extremely proud of their fami-ly. The five McNabb brothers, along with their two sisters, Judith ’59 and Deborah ’72, all went on to obtain Bachelors degrees in college.
After graduating from Colby in 1964, John attended Naval Officers Candidate School and served three years as a commissioned officer on a destroyer. He earned an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College in 1970 and had a rewarding career in ac-counting and finance. He retired in late 2008 from his position as Chief Financial Officer at the Rand-Whitney Group.
David graduated from Bowdoin College in 1967. He participated in the Army ROTC pro-gram while at Bowdoin and reported for active duty as a 2nd Lieutenant in December, 1967. He was honorably discharged from active duty in December, 1969 with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. Shortly after discharge, he went to work as a reporter for the Port-land newspapers, the first step in what became a 45-year career in the news business. Over the years he held a number of key positions, including assistant managing editor for sports, assistant managing editor for news, and copy desk chief. He retired in 2015.
Dennis also graduated from Bowdoin College in 1967. He participated in the Army ROTC program as well and reported for active duty as a 2nd Lieutenant in December, 1967. After a brief training program in Maryland, he spent a year at Fort Ord in Califor-nia, training troops headed to Vietnam. From December 1968 to December 1969, he served a tour of duty in Cu Chi Vietnam. He was honorably discharged from active duty in December, 1969 with the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
Dennis earned his MSW degree from the Smith College School for Social Work in 1973 and, upon graduation, joined the professional staff at New York Presbyterian Hospital where he continues to work. He currently is the Director of Eating Disorder Outpatient Services. After 45 years, Dennis is looking to retire at the end of this year.
Steve graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1978 and Georgetown University Law Center in 1982. He is a partner in the law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright, one of the largest international law firms in the world. He previously served as Partner-in-charge of the firm’s Washington, DC office. For several years, he led the firm’s international trade regulatory practice. He also currently serves as the firm’s Chief Legal Officer.
Jeff graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1980 with a BS in Finance from the College of Business Administration. Jeff retired in 2017 after a 35-year career with the United States Post Office.