BANGOR, Maine — Ryan Stroud saw the handwriting on the wall.
After spending three seasons as the third-string quarterback at the University of Maine, the former Foxcroft Academy star knew he would probably have to watch from the sidelines for a fourth year.
Midway through last season, realizing good friend Marcus Wasilewski had another year as the starter for the Division I Black Bears, Stroud began contemplating a change.
“I wasn’t going to get a shot at starting until my fifth year,” Stroud said Wednesday during Husson’s media day. “I knew that Husson had been struggling somewhat and that thought [of transferring to Husson] was starting to process in my mind.”
He also was motivated by the rehiring of Gabby Price as the Eagles’ head coach.
“That’s when I really made the decision [to transfer],” said Stroud, who has won the starting quarterback job and is one of four captains at the Division III institution. “My parents and I sat down and weighed the pros and cons. I thought it would be worth it to come to a program like this and maybe turn things around for the school and the area.
“Everybody knows Coach Price’s reputation. He’s an incredible man. He’s the kind of coach you want to play for. I’m humbled to be able to play for him for two seasons and try to get him to where he wants us to go,” said Stroud.
Husson has a 3-27 record over the last three seasons, and its quarterbacks completed just 41.5 percent of their passes and have been intercepted 40 times. They threw 24 touchdown passes.
Price first took over at Husson in 2002 when the football program was reinstituted. In his six seasons, the Eagles went 25-28, including a 19-10 mark in his final three years. He resigned after leading Husson to a 7-3 record and a berth in the ECAC Northeast Bowl in 2008.
He likes what he has seen from Stroud.
“Ryan works very hard and he loves the sport of football,” said Price. “He had great coaching and great competition at Maine. It was an asset for him. It made him better.
“He has done a very good job for us. He has done everything we’ve asked and he’s a great leader,” added Price. “He is unflappable and has a great attitude.”
Stroud said he is settling in nicely while making the transition from UMaine to Husson.
“It feels like I’m back home,” said Stroud, who started his last two seasons at Foxcroft Academy.
“College ball at Maine was a different ballgame. You don’t go in and start. It’s a process,” he explained. “You have to get bigger, stronger and faster and you have to learn the game more. I learned a lot of great things at Maine and that has been extremely valuable.
“They prepared me to be a starting quarterback for a team like this,” added the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Stroud, who got a lot of practice reps at Maine.
“You have to prepare as if you’re going to play [in case of injury to the players in front of you on the depth chart],” said Stroud.
Stroud said when he was in middle school, he began thinking that he wanted to play for Husson some day.
“But then they kind of slipped off the map a little bit,” he said.
“It’s a huge honor for me and my family to be at Husson … trying to help this team get back to where it used to be and, with coach Price being back, I think there are good things on the horizon,” added the 21-year-old.
Stroud admitted he was rusty when be began preseason training camp, but is pleased with how he has been playing of late. His teammates concur.
“He has looked very good,” said Husson preseason All-America defensive end Ernest Wiggins. “I like how he steps up in the pocket. He has good footwork and good vision. He works hard and he knows how to control the offense.”
“He has been great,” said running back Byron Jackson. “He has a lot of experience and brings a poise and a calmness to the huddle.”
Josiah Hartley, a slot receiver from Bangor, said Stroud has been “unbelievable.
“He has really fit in. Everybody has taken really well to him. He gained a lot of confidence at Maine and got a lot better. He’s going to be able to do a lot of good things for us,” said Hartley, who spent a year with the Black Bears before transferring to Husson.
Stroud also has as strong academic background. He is a nursing student and both institutions have nursing programs.
Stroud comes from a family of nurses. His father is a registered nurse anesthetist and his mother is an RN/clinical specialist. Both work at Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft.
“It has been something that has interested me ever since I was little. I really love the field,” said Stroud, who also worked at the hospital this summer.
Husson opens the season September 7 at Hartwick College (N.Y.) and Stroud is looking forward to the season.
“I want to get this team into the playoffs,” said Stroud. “I don’t have any statistical expectations [for myself]. I just want our team to win games.”