Monday, August 3, 2015

Maine Black Bears (1965)

With this being the 150th post, and with the first anniversary of the blog coming up (August 10), I thought I'd take a look at a team from our first post in more detail. (Actually, the second, but it was the first post that profiled a historic uniform.)

This fall marks the 50th anniversary of the first, last and only Maine team to make a bowl game. Just to show how much football has changed the last 50 years, the Black Bears had a 5-foot-8 quarterback (Dick DeVarney), several sub 200-pound linemen and ran the Wing-T offense.

The '65 Black Bears.

Maine stunned favored UMass 10-8 in the opener (the Bears' last win over the Redmen/Minutemen until 1982), then steamrolled to the Yankee Conference title. The Bears rallied past Youngstown State 27-22 and lost to Tampa 2-0 (!) to finish the regular season with a 8-1 record and an invite to the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

Alas, the roof caved in, as injury-ravaged Maine lost to East Carolina, 31-0. But the game itself would be overshadowed by the accomplishment of getting that far ... at least it has been to Maine fans such as myself.

Maine QB Dick DeVarney leaves the Tangerine Bowl with an injury.
Note the unique jersey used for the game, with the bear logo on the shoulders.

DeVarney -- who also played shortstop on Maine's 1964 College World Series baseball team -- was all-Yankee Conference, the only non-UMass QB to earn the honor from 1962-67. Linemen Bill Pasquill and Ivan Brawn (also spelled Braun) -- one of those sub 200-pound blockers -- were also named all-YC, as were Frank Harney (HB), Alan Riley (DE), Norm Tardiff (S) and John Huard (LB), a two-time All-American and the only Black Bear in the College Football Hall of Fame. 

The "regular" '65 home jersey.
Maine didn't reach the postseason again until 1987, when it played in the NCAA Division I-AA tournament.

As for the uniforms ... Maine wore a special blue jersey for the Tangerine Bowl. The numbers used a block font and the bear shoulder patches worn on the road shirts were added, with a white diamond-shaped background.  

In 2013, I attend the Maine-UMass game in Foxborough, Mass., where a
reunion of the 1965 team was held in the parking lot.
Here some neat stuff from that dream season. Looks like instead of filling
a stein to dear old Maine, the team raised a Sam Adams bottle.

Can't bear to be without Black Bear uniforms? Here are some more: 20142011-131997-991976-84, 1975197419651957-591949-50. Rivalry week: Maine-New Hampshire.

I love this picture, taken from the book "UMaine Sports History,"
a source for much of the info in this post. This pic is from 1965, but looks
as if it could be from 1955. One gets the impression that no one here has ever heard
of Vietnam, the Beatles or the Boston Patriots.

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