ORONO, Maine — Coaching college football players on a daily basis comes with its share of challenges and frustrations in addition to many rewards.
Such was the case Saturday for University of Maine head coach Jack Cosgrove.
The 54-year-old Cosgrove spent the night at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor after experiencing shortness of breath and tightness in the chest late in the Black Bears’ 41-17 victory over Rhode Island at Morse Field.
The onset of the symptoms came as Cosgrove emotionally confronted one of his players about his on-field celebration of a UMaine touchdown.
“It was the same individual who celebrated and cost us [a 15-yard penalty] against Richmond,” Cosgrove said. “You’re either coaching that [behavior] or you’re allowing it to happen. I don’t coach it and I’m not going to allow it to happen more than once.”
After yelling at the player, Cosgrove wasn’t feeling right.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my breath back. I just felt a little different,” he said.
UMaine’s athletic trainers and doctors on the sideline realized something was wrong and had Cosgrove sit down. Fearing it was something serious, they called an ambulance.
Even though Cosgrove didn’t share their sense of worry about the symptoms, he agreed to be taken to EMMC.
“Now, after all’s said and done, I feel fortunate to have people around me who stepped up and helped me,” he said. “I wasn’t, at the time, feeling what they were telling me was a problem and I wanted to stay and continue to coach.”
Cosgrove said exhaustive tests ruled out serious health concerns. He pointed out he eats well, is in good health and runs regularly.
“About the only thing I could say was, OK, maybe there is some stress involved,” he said.
Cosgrove returned to campus for Sunday evening’s practice and has taken care of business as usual as UMaine prepares for Saturday’s season finale at New Hampshire.
He knows there likely will be times when his Irish temper again gets the best of him.
“Anybody who’s been around me knows that part of my makeup is I’m going to let you know how I feel if I feel I need to,” Cosgrove said.
“Sometimes it [the emotion] just comes out.”
Treister impresses in debut
Chris Treister has been back at work in the meeting room and on the practice field this week in the wake of Saturday’s record-setting performance against Rhode Island.
The sophomore quarterback from Cape Elizabeth made his first collegiate start against the Rams, completing 40 of 46 passes for 468 yards and five touchdowns. The completions and his .870 completion percentage both set school single-game records.
He was honored this week as The Sports Network National Offensive Player of the Week, the Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Week and earned the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston’s Gold Helmet Award.
Did Cosgrove expect that kind of performance?
“No, absolutely not,” admitted Cosgrove, who pointed to the poise and resolve shown by Treister after having been beaten out for the starting job by now-injured Warren Smith earlier in the season.
“It had to be tough on him, because I think in his mind he felt that he could be doing that job [also],” Cosgrove said. “Then when the opportunity came for him to go in there and show what he could do, he did it at a high level.”
Treister, who also rushed for a team-best 35 yards and another TD, will lead the UMaine offense into Saturday’s game at New Hampshire. It is expected to be a tougher test.
“The next question that needs to be answered is how Chris responds to the success, can he do it again,” Cosgrove said.
“Now he’s got to do it again against a bigger, stronger, faster football team than the one he played against last week.”
Cosgrove praised Treister’s maturity in accepting his backup role while still striving for improvement.
“A lot of that credit goes to his upbringing, his mom and dad, his loyalty to the program, to the state,” Cosgrove said. “He never wavered in his commitment to this team.”
A strong effort at UNH could give Cosgrove and the coaching staff more to think about heading into the offseason.
Smith, who is scheduled to undergo surgery on his broken foot in the near future, is expected retain the starting job going into spring workouts. That doesn’t preclude the possibility of a more intense competition developing for the spot.
“The guy that’s No. 1 can’t lose it by injury, but the guy that gets the chance can certainly put a resume out there for himself. I think that’s what Chris is doing right now,” Cosgrove said.
The scenario should make both players, and their understudies, better as they compete for playing time.
“Now he’s [Treister] proven to himself and to all of us that he’s the player we thought he was,” Cosgrove said. “It gives us certainly a challenge and something to think about as we move forward.”
Four Black Bears honored
Four University of Maine field hockey players have been named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association’s Division I All-Northeast Regional team.
Lelia Sacre, who transferred from Syracuse University, has been named to the first team while junior midfielder Maire Dineen and sophomore forwards Kelly Newton and Jocelyn Mitchell were selected to the second team.
Sacre played in 15 of Maine’s 19 games and when she was in the lineup, she helped anchor a defense corps that allowed just 1.6 goals per game. She also chipped in offensively, particularly on penalty corners, as she contributed five goals and eight assists.
Dineen controlled the midfield for the 12-7 Bears and had two goals and five assists in 19 games while earning second team honors for the second straight year.
Newton, a first teamer last year, led the Bears in points with 42 as she racked up 16 goals and 10 assists. She led the team in assists and game-winning goals with four and shared the team lead in goals with Mitchell. She was second in America East in goals, assists and points.
Mitchell had five assists to go with her 16 goals and helped the team set a school record for goals in a season with 72.
Bates’ Wirth earns award
Bates College senior tight end Sean Wirth became the first Bobcat since 1999 to be named to the New England Football Writers’ Division II/III All-New England team.
He was the only tight end on the 31-member team.
The 6-foot-7 Wirth, who also plays basketball at Bates, led all tight ends in the New England Small College Athletic Conference in receptions (40) and receiving yards (393). They were both career-highs. He was tied for eighth in the conference in catches per game (5).
He was also an excellent blocker and had a 10-catch game against Williams and an eight-reception game against Trinity.
During his three-year career, the Barrington, Rhode Island native made 82 catches good for 770 yards and six touchdowns.
Stonehill has EM contributors
Two Eastern Maine women played for the Stonehill College field hockey team that reached the NCAA Division II Tournament semifinals.
Junior midfielder Lindsey Pinkham of Skowhegan was the team’s fifth leading scorer with five goals and five assists while freshman back Brittany Ford of Augusta’s Cony High School appeared in six games. She didn’t register a point.
Stonehill finished 17-5 and lost to UMass Lowell in the semifinals 2-1 at Stonehill’s W.B. Mason Stadium in Easton, Mass.
Bloomsburg State (Pa.) won its fourth straight national title with a 3-2 win over UMass Lowell in the final.
Meanwhille, Stonehill’s football team received a productive season from 6-foot-2, 265-pound defensive tackle Brad White from Bangor.
White, a junior, played in all 10 games and and had eight solo tackles and 12 assists. He was credited with 1½ tackles for losses.
Stonehill went 5-5.