Oakley Melendy’s collegiate athletic career was truly the stuff of legend. A four-sport, sixteen-season athlete, Melendy set an unprecedented standard of excellence that has been unmatched in the history of Bowdoin Athletics.
As versatile an athlete as the State of Maine has ever seen, Melendy was a native of Augusta and graduated from Gardiner High School and Phillips Academy in Andover,Massachusetts. He made an immediate impact, participating on the football, hockey, baseball, and track and field squads as a freshman at Bowdoin.
He was a dynamic star for Bowdoin’s three consecutive state championship football squads, playing three different positions—tailback, fullback, and quarterback. The Polar Bears went 20-5-3 in his career, marking the best four-year record for Bowdoin in the twentieth century. During the winter, Melendy joined the ice hockey team despite not playing prior to coming to Bowdoin. He skated with the Polar Bears to a pair of State Championships and an All-New England honor in 1939.
In the spring, Melendy played shortstop and outfield for the Polar Bear baseball team, aiding the unit to another State crown and captaining the squad in 1939. He also captured the State Championship in the javelin for the track and field team, often hustling to compete at Whittier Field in between innings of baseball games at the Pickard Diamond. In addition to his improbable varsity accomplishments, Melendy also played on the school’s independent basketball team prior to the squad earning varsity status in the 1940s.
A lifetime athlete, he competed well into his later years, earning both the Maine Seniors Golf Championship and Maine Tennis Association Senior Division Doubles Championship in the 1970s. He was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.
Melendy graduated from Bowdoin with a degree in chemistry and earned his medical degree at Columbia University in 1944, prior to serving two years in the U.S. ArmyMedical Corps. He was a surgeon in Augusta, Maine, where he and his wife, Joyce, raised four children. Oakley Melendy died in 2001.