Saturday, October 18, 2014

HOMECOMING BONUS: Maine Black Bears (1974)

Well, it’s my alma mater’s homecoming (or is it Homecoming?) this weekend, so we’ll go back 40 years and look at a Maine team with an unusual accomplishment: The Black Bears shared the Yankee Conference title (4-2 record, tied with UMass) despite a losing record overall (4-6, with nonconference losses to Northeastern, Bucknell, Lehigh and Delaware). The key victory that year was a 7-0 win at UConn, Maine’s first at Storrs since 1954. The quarterback in ’74? A freshman named Jack Cosgrove … who has been the Black Bears’ head coach since 1993.

Jack Cosgrove (15) runs through the Vermont defense.

This is one of my favorite vintage Maine uniforms: The Michigan-style helmet, the curved numbers on the sides, just the right dose of blue trim on the shirt and pants … it  all meshes very well. One oddity: Many Maine helmets from about 1972-74 lacked numbers. I have no idea why. The numbers were moved to the back in ’75.

Three Black Bears were named all-Yankee Conference, including future longtime Clemson baseball coach Jack Leggett, a defensive back. From the 1975 Prism yearbook, here are some pix of the ’74 Bears in action, including a few against Vermont and Northeastern. We’ll be seeing more of those two gone-but-not-forgotten programs in the next week or so.

Happy Homecoming!

Jack Cosgrove (15) barks the signals in Maine's last-ever game against Vermont.

The classic Maine helmet in all its glory. Tru-Stik?

The Black Bears take down a Northeastern Husky. Note the lack of numbers on the helmets.

The '74 Black Bears in action.

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