11.23.09

Northeastern : Building A University The Football Hockey Team Can Be Proud Of

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 2:56 pm by

Though Boston’s Northeastern University has produced such sporting ‘sphere icons as Reggie Lewis, Chris Nilan, Carlos Pena, the late Will McDonough and Don Orsillo, Sean Jones and Dan Ross, aside, the school has never been widely known as a football hotbed.  As such, it will surprise few to learn that some 14 years after Boston University pulled the plug on their college football program, Northeastern’s trustees voted Friday to take similar action. From the Boston Globe’s Andrew Ryan :

President Joseph E. Aoun and the board of trustees endorsed the move Friday after an extensive, two-year review of the athletic program by its director, Peter Roby. The decision to eliminate football follows six straight losing seasons and sparse game attendance at a school whose ice rink often sells out for hockey.

Northeastern football did not fall victim to the recession or a fund-raising crunch, university officials said. Instead, school officials came to terms with the hard truth that the $3 million-plus annual program needed more help – millions more each year – than Northeastern wanted to give.

Northeastern first took to its gridiron in Brookline in 1933. The program produced more than a dozen NFL players and boasts three undefeated seasons, including an 8-0 run in 1963. The last highlight came in 2002 when the Huskies racked up a school record 10 wins, a share of their first Atlantic 10 title, and a trip to the NCAA playoffs.

But the team has not posted a winning record since coach Rocky Hager took over in 2004. If the school did field a team next year, college officials said, it probably would have involved an expensive national search for a new coach and stepped-up recruiting.

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