Monday, June 8, 2015

Maine Black Bears (1975)

Jack Leggett was recently fired as Clemson's baseball coach. Long before he coached the Tigers to six College World Series appearances, he captained the 1976 Maine team that reached the College World Series for the second time in its history. But when he wasn't playing baseball in Orono, Leggett more than held his own on the gridiron.

Jack Leggett (No. 21) tackles a Boston University ballcarrier in 1975.
From the '76 Prism yearbook.

Leggett, amazingly, is Maine's only three-time first-team all-conference selection -- pretty amazing when you consider all the Black Bears who have made All-America and/or reached the NFL. Leggett was named as a Yankee Conference first-team defensive back from 1974-76, but he was likely bolstered by his proficiency as a kicker, too. He led the team in scoring with 27 points (!) in 1975 (five field goals, 12 extra points) and 38 in '76 (six FGs, 20 XPs). 

Leggett lets his legs do the talking in 1976 (1977 Prism).

Two field goals from are worth noting: A 52-yarder against Delaware in '75 that remains the longest boot in Black Bear history, and a shot against UMass in '76 that ended a SIX-YEAR scoreless drought against the Minutemen. Maine lost, 24-3.

Leggett's time at UMaine coincided with the coaching transition from Walt Abbott to Jack Bicknell. The '75 Maine uniform was the last with the Michigan-style winged helmet, first introduced in 1949. The helmet numbers, which had been of the sides of the helmet since 1957, were moved to the back. Bicknell overhauled the uniform in '76, but Leggett kept right on kicking for the Black Bears.

Another Leggett kick from '76.

Can't bear to be without Black Bear uniforms? Here are some more: 20142011-131997-991976-8419741965, 1957-591949-50. Rivalry week: Maine-New Hampshire.

Maine football of a different sort, c. 1975.

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