Kenny Doak said he will always cherish his time at the University of Maine.
But to further his career as a kicker, he felt it was in his best interest to enter the NCAA transfer portal in the hopes of moving up to a Football Bowl Subdivision school.
The FBS is a step up from the Football Championship Subdivision in which UMaine competes.
“My family and I talked about it and we thought it would be best for me to move on,” Doak said. “The uncertainty of the spring season [due to the COVID-19 pandemic] probably played a factor in it. But, to be honest, I want to take my talent to a higher level to give myself an opportunity to further my career.”
Doak, who will graduate this winter with a degree in kinesiology, is best known for two last-second field goals. Those kicks in 2018 provided the Black Bears with important back-to-back victories over Villanova and Rhode Island that were instrumental in UMaine’s run to its first appearance in the FCS national semifinals.
He has one year of eligibility remaining.
“I’d like to enroll at another school to get my feet wet in spring ball and go through summer workouts to give myself the best opportunity [to earn a starting job],” Doak said.
The 21-year-old from Perkasie, Pennsylvania, concluded his UMaine career with a 61.4 percent success rate on field goal [27-for-44], including a 14-for-21 showing in 2019.
“It’s going to be tough. Everybody gets ramped up at that level. But I’m built for it. I’m ready for the challenge. It’s another step in the process. I’m excited for the future. I can’t wait to find a home,” he said.
Doak said his time at UMaine was special.
“I can’t say enough about the program and the coaches, especially [head] Coach [Nick] Charlton and Coach [Jared] Keyte. I’m thankful for the opportunity they gave me. I will always cherish those Villanova and Rhode Island wins during our [Colonial Athletic Association] championship season,” Doak said.
Keyte is the special teams coordinator.
Doak said having an opportunity, along with his teammates, to honor Darius Minor is something he will never forget. The freshman defensive back collapsed and died of a heart condition during training camp in 2018.
He set career highs in field goals made  and attempted  in 2019 and also converted all 40 of his point-after-touchdown kicks.
In 2018, Doak connected on 11 of his 18 field-goal attempts and matched the school record with a 52-yarder to beat Villanova. He also made 42 of 46 PATs.
He had a career-high seven PATs in the FCS playoff win over Jacksonville State.
Doak struggled as a true freshman, going 3-for-5 in field goals before losing the job to Brandon Briggs.
UMaine has three kickers on the roster in juniors David Gelb and David Cooey along with freshman Casey Farrell. All are also listed as punters. Cooey handled kickoffs last season.
“Kenny will always be a part of the Black Bear family and I respect his decision and wish him the best of luck,” Charlton said. “We have a number of players currently on our roster along with external student-athletes we will be pursuing. We will have great competition this spring and will be ready for March 6.”