ORONO, Maine — John Huard has not worn a University of Maine football uniform since 1966.
During the nearly half-century since, he nonetheless has continued to have a positive impact on the Black Bears’ program.
UMaine athletics designated Saturday “John Huard Day” and will recognize the Waterville native for his recent selection to the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame.
Huard officially will be inducted into the NFF’s College Football Hall of Fame on Dec. 9 in New York City.
“I have great admiration for John Huard,” UMaine football head coach Jack Cosgrove said. “I think the honor he’s receiving is as big an honor as anyone from the University of Maine could ever receive.”
John Huard Day will kick off with a reception from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the tailgating area adjacent to Alfond Stadium on the UMaine campus. This informal event will provide fans and friends with an opportunity to congratulate Huard and share football stories.
Huard also will be feted during halftime of the Black Bears’ 6 p.m. game against Norfolk State on Morse Field.
Huard was a two-time, first-team Little All-America and twice earned All-Yankee Conference accolades at linebacker for UMaine, where he played under coach Harold Westerman from 1964-1966. He was a key member of the Black Bears’ 1965 Tangerine Bowl team.
Huard was drafted in the fifth round by the Denver Broncos of the American Football League in 1967 and enjoyed a four-year professional career with the Broncos and New Orleans Saints.
He went on to serve as the head coach at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine. Huard guided Acadia to the Canadian national championship in 1979 and in 1981.
He also was the head coach of the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts.
Huard was the first football player inducted into the UMaine Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986 and also was the inaugural selection in Alfond Stadium’s Ring of Honor.
Cosgrove has enjoyed multiple interactions with Huard, including on the field.
“I played on a team that he coached [as an assistant at UMaine] in 1974,” recalled Cosgrove, who received his first collegiate tongue-lashing from Huard. “He was our offensive line coach. He pointed out something he didn’t like about how I was conducting my business.”
Cosgrove’s brother Michael completed his collegiate football eligibility in Canada and played on one of Huard’s championship teams at Acadia.
“The Cosgrove family has a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for John,” Jack Cosgrove said.
Cosgrove has stayed in contact with Huard through football and his latest professional venture. Huard is the president of Northeast Turf Hue Inc. and serves as the northeast representative for FieldTurf artificial surfaces.
FieldTurf is in use on Morse Field and at Mahaney Diamond.
“He has been a really good friend to me personally as an alumnus of this program,” Cosgrove said. “The FieldTurf that we play on is from John, and his kindness and generosity to the program is second to none.”