A thousand football games.
Forget about wins and losses for a moment.
Think about all the young men who have worn the UMaine uniform.
Think about all the coaches. Think about all the trainers, equipment folks and other staffers. Think about all those practices. Think about all those miles up and down the highway.
Think about all that history.
And then I started flipping through Stu Haskell’s book on the history of UMaine athletics. The former Black Bear AD spent years compiling 700 pages of names and faces and stats and records. No surprise that football takes up the most pages. So many seasons, so many stories….
1892 : That first year of football. UMaine played two games, a shutout loss to Colby 12-0 and a loss to Bangor High School 33-3. Wonder if they asked about what went wrong with the offense at the post-game press conference? Did you know a touchdown only counted for four points back then?
1892-1904 : Talk about being a tough place to coach. 13 seasons, 13 different coaches. What’s up with that?
1913: The Black Bears played Boston College for the first time and beat them in the season opener 6-0. Anybody remember seeing that one on ESPN3?
1928 to 1964: For 36 years, with the exception of four, the last three games every season was against the C-B-B, Colby-Bowdoin-Bates. That helps the travel budget.
1965: The Tangerine Bowl team. I’ve seen some of the old film of that propeller airplane that took the Bears to Florida. I don’t think passengers got peanuts on that trip.
1967: The Red Sox “Impossible Dream Team” year. The Black Bears went 0-8 that fall. Clearly too much focus on Jim Lonborg and Yaz.
1974 / 1975 / 1976: Maine kicked a total of 32 field goals in the first 81 years. A kid named Jack Leggett came along and kicked 15 in three seasons (and 42 PATs).
1980: Lorenzo Bouier. 349 carries, 1,622 yards. Now that’s pounding the rock!
1984 to 1992: Five head coaches in eight years. Someone please stop the carousel.
1993: Jack Cosgrove did. He has now tied Fred Brice for most years as head coach (20). Should it now be called the Brice/Cosgrove- Cowell musket?
ITEMS FROM THE DUFFEL BAG:
Fans recently voted for their top 10 moments in UMaine football history and there are some great ones. I came up with another list — a list of stories while covering Maine football…
1. The news conference on campus to announce a new coach. For whatever reason, there was a rush to get this done. The president met with the soon-to-be coach, they entered the press conference together and the prez proudly announced, “I’d like to introduce the next UMaine football coach, Eugene Buddy Teeves”….ahh, Mr Prez, it’s Teevens!
2. The day I saw linebacker Stephen Cooper fly for the first time. I’m not kidding. He timed the snap count and flew from one side of the line of scrimmage to the other, flying over the center, tackling the quarterback before the guy had a chance to move.
3. Tom Lichtenberg was head coach at Maine just one year — 1989. But with Mike Buck, Carl Smith and others it was a good season. Even though home games were drawing great crowds, they were not large enough for the coach. At his weekly press conference he said, “I don’t understand why folks can’t come up to Orono, grab a moon pie and RC Cola and enjoy themselves”. I had never heard a coach that before, or since.
4. The day of the big QB switch. Bobby Wilder was the senior captain and Maine native. Mike Buck was a sensational sophomore from NY. Wilder was struggling and the coaching staff made the switch — from Wilder to Buck. The two players walked to the practice field together that day. They stopped and answered all the questions. It was a tough interview to do.
5. Videotaping the Maine vs Rhody 6-overtime game from the sidelines. The camera battery kept getting lower, and lower, and lower. Tough to think about the history of the game when you’re wondering if you’ll be able to tape the final play.
6. The day Kirk Ferentz, with watery eyes, announced he was leaving Maine for the NFL. He would join Bill Belichick’s Cleveland Browns as a line coach. Weeks earlier he had talked about how he wanted be in Orono for years and stop the revolving door of coaches. He made the right decision.