12 CAA Teams in 12 Days: UMass

Welcome back to 12 CAA Teams in 12 13 days! Sometimes my other job (the one that actually pays me) will get in the way of this and force me to play catchup but it can’t be helped. With that said, it’s time to stay in the Northeast and check out a place where the letter R does not exist. That’s right it’s Massachusetts!

Name: University of Massachusetts Amherst

Nickname: Minutemen

Founded: 1863

Student Body Population: Approx. 25,000 with Graduates

Located: In the town of Amherst in western Massachusetts about two hours from Boston

Colors: Maroon and White

Mascot: Sam the Minuteman

Fun Academic Fact: UMass Amherst is part of the Five Colleges Consortium which allows its students to attend classes, borrow books, work with professors, etc., at four other Pioneer Valley institutions: Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges.

– UMass and UMaine were both founded under the Land Grant Act signed by President Lincoln in 1862.

MASSACHUSETTS FOOTBALL

Head Coach: Don Brown, 5th Year (38-12)

STADIUM: Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium

Opened in 1965, McGuirk Stadium has a capacity of 17,000 and has seen the Minutemen win 17 conference titles most recently in 2007. The stadium was named after Warren McGuirk who served as UMass’ Director of Athletics from 1948 to 1971. For how long the stadium will be around is uncertain due to an increasing call for the Minutemen to play in the I-A Bowl Subdivision which would require increasing the seating or building a new facility.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

UMass football was going nowhere fast in the 90s until then head coach Mark Whipple did an overhaul and turned a ragtag team into national champions in what seemed like overnight. In fact it was. The previous year, UMass had gone 2-9, but in 1998, the Minutemen went 13-2 culminating with a 55-43 thrashing of previously top ranked and unbeaten Georgia Southern. Eventual NFL running back Marcel Shipp had 244 yards rushing and three touchdowns to lead the way and UMass football has been on the map ever since.

UMass RB Marcel Shipp slips away as UMass wins the title against GA Southern on 12/19/1998.

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Steve Baylark, Greg Landry, Milt Morin, Marcel Shipp

12 CAA Teams in 12 Days: Maine

We just keep rolling along with our CAA teams and today the train stops in Orono. Welcome to Lobster Country!

Name: The University of Maine

Nickname: Black Bears

Founded: 1862

Student Body Population: 12,100

Located: In the town of Orono just off of I-95, 15 minutes NE of Bangor and an hour and a half NE of Maine’s capital, Augusta.

Colors: Blue & White

Mascot: Bananas the Bear

Fun Academic Fact: Maine’s Fogler Library houses rare early writings by alumnus Stephen King that many aspiring authors go to research.

– The school offers a minor in Socialist and Marxist Studies, something rarely found in any other university.

MAINE FOOTBALL

Head Coach: Jack Cosgrove, 16th Year (80-90)

STADIUM: Morse Field at Harold Alfond Sports Stadium

Opened in 1998, Harold Alfond Sports Stadium is a 10,000 capacity stadium that is one of the newer facilities in the CAA. The stadium was named after Harold Alfond who donated $3.1 million toward the grandstand that made the capacity what it is today. The field was named for Phillip and Susan Morse who contributed $2.15 million for the playing surface, lights, and scoreboard. The stadium does double duty as the home for the football and field hockey teams.

HISTORIC I-A VICTORY

Despite their recent struggles, the Maine football program will always be able to look back to the 2004 season for inspiration when they had arguably their greatest win ever by shocking I-A Mississippi State of the SEC 9-7 in Starkville. The Bears scored a touchdown with under three minutes remaining to shock the Bulldogs and their fans.

Maine celebrates the upset of Mississippi State at the 50 yard line, 9/19/2004

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Mike Flynn, Brandon McGowan, Lofa Tatupu (transfered to USC after his freshman year)

12 CAA Teams in 12 Days: James Madison

After a weekend off, it’s time for the part three of 12 CAA Teams in 12 Days. Today it’s time for my alma mater, James Madison! Enjoy!

Name: James Madison University

Nickname: Dukes

Founded: 1908

Student Body Population: Approx. 18,000

Located: Harrisonburg, VA in the Shenandoah Valley about two hours west of Washington, DC

Colors: Purple and Gold

Mascot: Duke Dog

Fun Academic Fact: U.S. News & World Report has ranked JMU as the top public, masters-level university in the South for 14 consecutive years.

Fun General Fact: The Princeton Review ranked JMU sixteenth for the most beer usage on campus.

JAMES MADISON FOOTBALL

Head Coach: Mickey Matthews, 9th Year (64-44)

Stadium: Bridgeforth Stadium

Built in 1975, Bridgeforth Stadium has been the lifelong home to the JMU football team and has a seating capacity of 13,559. Recently, the JMU Board of Visitors approved a $10 million budget to renovate and expand the stadium. By the start of the 2011 season, the stadium will hold 24,878 people making it the largest stadium in the CAA.

RECENT SUCCESS

Up until the hiring of Coach Matthews in 1999, the JMU football team was almost non-existent. But that has completely changed as the team made the I-AA playoffs in Matthews’ first year and in 2004, won the national championship over Montana. JMU has made the playoffs in three out of the last four years making them a very recruit friendly program and a powerhouse with a lot of success in its future.

Justin Rascati scores the winning touchdown as JMU beats Montana to win the 2004 National Championship.

NOTABLE PLAYERS:

Alvin Banks, Gary Clark, Corey Davis, Nelson Garner, Charles Haley, Akeem Jordan, Scott Norwood, Ed Perry, Justin Rascati, Bryan Stinespring, Kelly Wiltshire

12 CAA Teams in 12 Days: Hofstra

Welcome back to 12 CAA Teams in 12 Days! Now that you’ve had time to digest all the cool things I’ve taught you about the folks from Delaware, let’s head up to the town of Hempstead, NY on Long Island.

Name: Hofstra University

Nickname: Pride

Founded: 1935

Student Body Population: Approx. 13,000

Located: In the town of Hempstead, New York on Long Island about a half hour drive (if you’re lucky) from Queens

Colors: Blue and Gold

Mascot: A Pair of Lions (“Pride”)

Fun Academic Fact: The school was actually founded as part of New York University but became an independent school named Hofstra College in 1937 before officially being named Hofstra University in 1963.

Hofstra was selected to host the third and final Presidential Debate of 2008 on October 15th. The debate will focus on foreign policy and will feature the candidates sitting at a table with the moderator.

This is also the final year that the New York Jets will have their training camp at Hofstra as has been the tradition for many years.

HOFSTRA FOOTBALL

Head Coach: Dave Cohen, 3rd Year (9-13)

Stadium: James M. Shuart Stadium

Photo courtesy of dbeards3

Opened in 1962, Shuart Stadium is a 15,000 seat capacity stadium that was named Hofstra Stadium until it was renamed for the outgoing president James Shuart in 2002. The stadium has dual roles for both football and lacrosse as it hosted the NCAA D-1 Men’s Lacrosse Championship in 1971 and 2006 and it also was the home field for the Long Island Lizards Major League Lacrosse Team from 2001-02.

NOTABLE PLAYERS:

Charlie Adams, Stephen Bowen, Rocky Butler, Giovanni Carmazzi, Wayne Chrebet, Willie Colon, Marques Colston, Devale Ellis, Dave Fiore, Don Gault, Arlen Harris, John Schmitt, Lance Schulters, Shaine Smith, Renauld Williams, Vincent Molinari.

Wayne Chrebet

HOFSTRA FOOTBALL TODAY AND TOMORROW

The Hofstra football team was going through major struggles until Coach Dave Cohen arrived in 2006. After a rough first season, the Pride (or Flying Dutchmen as I still love calling them) increased their win total by five games and narrowly missed the I-AA playoffs last year. Being able to do that in a conference like the CAA is quite impressive and can only mean that Hofstra is looking at no less than a playoff birth in the coming years. \

12 CAA Teams in 12 Days: Delaware

I liken my blog to the NFL Network in that the seasons of Spring and Summer are spent trying to amuse and entertainment both viewers and myself while we all wait for the glorious football days to return.

So I have to think of new things to throw on here that are at least somewhat creative and can help you pass the time while you are doing nothing working. That said, I’ve decided to take an in depth look at each of the teams that comprise the Colonial Athletic Association football conference. I will use my extensive knowledge of each school (i.e. looking them up on Wikipedia and their websites) to give you some general knowledge but hopefully offer tidbits you may not have known about the teams/schools.

To show that I’m not biased toward my alma mater, I will go in alphabetical order starting with the good folks up in Newark. Presenting the first installment of my 12 CAA Teams in 12 days: The University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens!

Name: University of Delaware

Nickname: Fighting Blue Hens

Founded: 1743

Students: Approx. 19,000 including Graduates

Located: Newark about 20 minutes west of Wilmington

Colors: Royal Blue and Gold

Mascot: A Hen named YoUDee

Fun Academic Fact: Of the original ten students in the first class in 1743, three of them (George Read, Thomas McKean, and James Smith) would sign the Declaration of Independence.

– The school is known for its business and engineering schools particularly in the fields of chemistry and biochemistry due to the presence of pharmaceutical companies in the state. The university was ranked #10 in engineering by The Princeton Review in 2006.

DELAWARE FOOTBALL

Head Coach: K.C. Keeler, 6th Year (41-22)

Stadium: Delaware Stadium

Opened in 1952, Delaware Stadium has seen many expansions and is presently at 22,000 capacity which makes it the largest in the CAA. It was recently dubbed “Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium” to honor their longtime coach Harold “Tubby” Raymond. The games are almost always sold out as Delaware has battled Montana for the highest yearly attendance for several years.

UD also boasts one of the loudest student sections in the conference dubbed “The Cockpit” which sits behind the South Endzone.

The school has won six national titles most recently in 2003 when they clobbered Colgate 40-0. They also have won a record 15 conference titles.

Notable Players:

Mike Adams, Omar Cuff, Mondoe Davis, Jamin Elliott, Joe Flacco, Rich Gannon, Sidney Haugabrook, Joe Minucci, Matt Nagy, Ben Patrick

Joe Flacco

Harold “Tubby” Raymond

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Any college football enthusiast will recognize the name Tubby Raymond. He was the face of football in the state of Delaware for 36 seasons racking up an incredible 300 wins and three national championships (1971, 1972, 1979). He also won 14 conference titles. He was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003 next to his predecessor, David Nelson and Bill Murray who coached the Hens prior to that making Delaware the only team besides Georgia Tech to have three consecutive coaches enshrined.

Future

Though both Flacco and Cuff have moved on, the University of Delaware should have no problems with competing in the coming season. K.C. Keeler is one of the top recruiting coaches in the land, famously saying “We’re the LSU; we’re the Georgia, the Florida of Division I-AA. We have every resource…everybody wants to come to school here (American Football Monthly).” The Hens should enjoy much success for many years to come.

Schedule:

April 11 – Hofstra

April 14 – James Madison

April 15 – Maine

April 16 – Massachusetts

April 17 – New Hampshire

April 18 – Northeastern

April 21 – Rhode Island

April 22 – Richmond

April 23 – Towson

April 24 – Villanova

April 25 – William & Mary