The Soule Family
No single family has had a greater impact on Bowdoin's athletic
program than the Soule Family. Father William '36 and his sons Paul
'66, Mort '68, Jim '77 and Phil have produced a lasting legacy-
particularly in the Bowdoin football program.
The patriarch of four sons who had an incredible impact on Bowdoin athletics, Bill Soule was anaccomplished athlete in his own right. A member of the Class of 1936, Bill Soule starred for Bowdoin on the gridiron and on the track. Bill Soule continued what was already a family legacy at Bowdoin when he matriculated in the fall of 1932. His uncles Emerson and Weston Hilton (both of the Class of 1891) were members of Bowdoin's first-ever football team, and his older brother, Gilmore '30, had already found his way to Brunswick, with his younger sibling David '38 on the way. A roommate of fellow Hall of Honor inductee Phil Good '36, Bill Soule starred for Bowdoin as a broad-jumper and also captained Adam Walsh's first Bowdoin football team.
Bill went on to an accomplished career as a head coach at Dover-Foxcroft, where he led his 1939 squad to an unbeaten, untied, and unscored-upon season. He pursued a career in higher education and earned his Ph.D. at Boston University before serving many years as a superintendent of schools and then as a professor at the University of Southern Maine. Bill and his wife June - who also happens to be Phil Good's sister - live in Woolwich and have been married for 64 years. Their four sons have given them thirteen grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.
With outstanding performances on the football field, Paul Soule shattered College records and set a new standard of excellence on the Bowdoin gridiron. Appropriately, his groundbreaking accomplishments stood for nearly a decade, until another Soule family member raised the bar once again.
Paul Soule came to Bowdoin after quarterbacking the Deering High School football team to a state championship in 1959. After a year at Mt. Hermon, Paul came to Bowdoin and was a member of Nels Corey's 1963 state championship squad. As a halfback, Paul was nearly unstoppable, rushing for 414 yards as a sophomore and breaking an 18-year-old single-season rushing record with 670 yards in 1964. He entered his senior season just 51 yards shy of the school?s career rushing mark with just two seasons under his belt. Paul easily surpassed that mark as a co-captain of the 1965 team, rushing for 597 yards and finishing his career with 1,681 yards. In addition, Soule set school marks in career yards per carry (4.76), career rushes (135), and career points (122).
Paul was also an outstanding track athlete, breaking the New England record in the 180-yard low hurdles while at Bowdoin. A member of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, Paul went on to an accomplished career as a head coach at Reading (Mass.) High School. Paul and his wife, Gail, reside in Cumberland Center. His daughter, Sarah Soule Way '95, was an outstanding track athlete at Bowdoin, and his son, John Soule '97, also ran track and played competitive Ultimate Frisbee at Bowdoin. Paul and Gail have one grandchild.
An outstanding all-around athlete, Mort Soule shone on both the gridiron and baseball diamond during his distinguished career. As a senior co-captain wingback, Soule had a stellar senior season that saw him lead the team in kick returns, punt returns, and pass receiving (17 catches for 256 yards). He also completed three passes that season, including two touchdown passes. His 27 kickoff returns set a school record, as did his 112 yards in returns against Colby in 1966. His 621 career kick return yards broke his brother Paul's mark of 518 yards, while his 662 yards in punt returns is still a school record.
In his Bowdoin baseball career, Soule was hampered by injuries, but he was a deft All-Telegram league shortstop while at Deering High School and was captain of the Bowdoin nine during his senior season. He returned to Deering as a football coach and led the squad to the 1993 state championship. He has also been inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and Maine Baseball Hall of Fame. Mort and his wife, Margie Miller Soule '73, reside in Portland and have four children and three grandchildren.
Jim Soule's records have stood the test of time and serve as a tribute to his outstanding career as a Polar Bear. Jim Soule carried the ball more times, rushed for more yards, and scored more touchdowns than any other Bowdoin player before him. Jim came to Bowdoin after a state championship at Morse High School. In his breakout junior season, Jim anchored a lethal backfield as he shattered Paul Soule's mark for single-season rushing yards (780).
But Jim Soule was not finished. As a senior, he became the first Polar Bear to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for a single season with 1,140 yards - a mark that still stands. He saved his best for his arch-rivals as he posted Bowdoin's two greatest single-game rushing efforts in consecutive weeks against Colby (244 yards, five touchdowns) and Bates (270 yards), as the Polar Bears captured their second straight CBB crown. His 2,634 career rushing yards are still 300 more than the second-place total, and when he finished his Bowdoin career, he had nearly 1,000 yards more than any other Polar Bear runner. Jim and his wife, Lydia, live in South Portland. They have three children.
Although he is the only one of the five Soule men not to have attended Bowdoin, Phil Soule has been a significant contributor to the Bowdoin campus thanks to his nearly 40-year coaching career at the College. A graduate of the University of Maine, Phil Soule had a distinguished college football career that included two All-Maine selections as an offensive lineman. As a high school athlete, Phil set the Maine state record in the shot put at a meet held at Whittier Field in Brunswick.
After teaching English and coaching a variety of sports at Fryeburg Academy, Phil joined the Bowdoin coaching staff in 1967 and has never left. In addition to coaching the Bowdoin offensive line for decades, Soule also had coaching stints in virtually every other sport at the College, including head jobs in wrestling, baseball, and squash. He has also served as an assistant in track and lacrosse, among other sports. A national champion canoe racer, Phil resides in Brunswick with his wife, Maureen. The couple have four children and ten grandchildren.