December 10, 2013

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UMaine’s Cosgrove named Co-Coach of the Year

He shares the regional honor with Fordham’s coach.

By Glenn Jordan gjordan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The football season may be over at the University of Maine, but the work continues.

Jack Cosgrove and his staff are preparing to hit the recruiting trail this week, days after the season ended with a 41-27 loss to New Hampshire in the first NCAA playoff game held at Alfond Stadium.

“We’ve missed two weeks already,” Cosgrove said Tuesday. “Not that that’s a bad thing because we were practicing and playing.”

Cosgrove collected another accolade Tuesday when the American Football Coaches Association named him Co-Coach of the Year for Region 1 of the Football Championship Subdivision.

The Black Bears finished 10-3 overall with a 7-1 Colonial Athletic Association record, good enough for their first outright conference title since 1965. They reached the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years and beat a bigger Football Bowl Subdivision opponent – UMass – for the second time in school history.

Cosgrove shared the award with Joe Moorhead of Fordham, whose Rams went 12-2 and, like Cosgrove’s Black Bears, were eliminated from the FCS national tournament Saturday.

The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in each of the association’s five divisions: Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA. The winners are selected by active AFCA members who vote for coaches in their regions and divisions.

The five national Coach of the Year winners will be announced next month at the AFCA convention in Indianapolis.

This marks Cosgrove’s third Coach of the Year award this season, following the CAA and New England Football Writers’ Association honors. He was the 1996 and 2001 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year and is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award – bestowed upon the top FCS coach in the country – for the third time.

Quarterback Marcus Wasilewski, who broke the school single-season passing record Saturday, released a statement through the university in appreciation of the support from the crowd of 7,992 at Alfond, which hadn’t seen such numbers since 2004.

“I would like to thank the University of Maine community and the state of Maine for the great show of support at our NCAA football playoff game on Saturday,” Wasilewski said.

“I speak on behalf of all my teammates when I say we will always remember the atmosphere of that game. The outcome is not one we are content with, but the atmosphere is one that will be cherished.

“We hope that this type of atmosphere can continue on in the future and even become bigger and better! Black Bear Nation has the potential to be something really special, and that was proven Saturday by having the third highest attendance of all playoff games.

“This type of support goes a long way not only for our football team, but for any athletic team at the University of Maine. Again, our sincere gratitude goes out to you, Black Bear Nation. Go Blue!”

Cosgrove said 28 of the 29 true freshmen on the team were redshirted, meaning they still have four years of eligibility. The exception is fullback Jeremy Salmon, who was needed as a snapper on place-kicks and saw action on special teams.

Sophomore Mike Kozlakowski, projected as a starter at defensive end before a biceps tear in training camp caused him to miss the regular season, returned for six plays Saturday and was in on a tackle.

The Black Bears vote on three game captains each week. Linebacker Troy Eastman for defense, tight end Justin Perillo for offense and linebacker Arron Achey for special teams went to midfield for the pregame coin toss Saturday. The team will vote this week on captains for the season. The signing date for recruits is Feb. 5.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:Gjordan@pressherald.comTwitter: GlennJordanPPH
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