Five Black Bears Honored by New England Football Writers' Association
ORONO, Maine -- Four members of the University of Maine football team and head coach Jack Cosgrove have been honored by the New England Football Writers' Association, as announced on Monday, Dec. 2. Head Coach Jack Cosgrove has been named the Jack Grinold New England Coach of the Year while quarterback Marcus Wasilewski (Kulpmont, Pa.) has been honored as the Gold Helmet Player of the Year; awarded to the top FCS player in New England
Wasilewski was also named to FCS All-New England team long with offensive lineman Jeff Gakos (Basking Ridge, N.J.), linebacker Christophe Mulumba (Montreal, Que.) and corner back Kendall James (Roselle, N.J.).
Coach Cosgrove, the Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year, is honored with the Jack Grinold New England Coach of the Year for the second time in his career as he also won the award in 2011. After being selected eighth in the CAA Football preseason poll, head coach Jack Cosgrove led the Black Bears to a 10-2 regular season and a 7-1 mark in the CAA. Coach Cosgrove guided the Black Bears to the CAA title for the first time in school history, earning a No. 5 seed in the NCAA FCS playoffs where Maine will host its first ever postseason contest. Cosgrove, previously a two-time Atlantic-10 Coach of the Year (1996, 2001), is an Eddie Robinson Award finalist for the third time and earned the program's 500th win when the Black Bears defeated FBS foe Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium.
Wasilewski, also named to the All-CAA first team and the recipient of the Chuck Boone Leadership Award, ranked second in the league in pass offense (253.7). Wasilewski had a historic season for Maine as he went 255-for-370 for 3,009 yards with 23 touchdowns. The senior quarterback also rushed 141 times for 620 yards and three scores. Wasilewski is just the second quarterback in Black Bear history to throw for 3,000+ yards in a season.
Mulumba, an All-CAA first team selection along with the league's defensive rookie of the year honor, led the Black Bears with 105-tackles, fifth most in the CAA. Mulumba was named a finalist for the Jerry Rice award given to the FCS national rookie of the year and was also a four-time CAA rookie of the week. Mulumba recorded a pair of interceptions to go along with 4.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery. In Maine's win at Albany, Mulumba recorded 19-tackles which was the single game league high.
Gakos, a first team All-CAA selection, started 34 games at left guard for the Black Bears, second most among active Black Bears. Gakos helped anchor an offensive line which ranked second in the league in pass offense (253.7), fifth in scoring offense (30.0), fifth in total offense (429.8) and fifth in rushing offense (176.2). Gakos assisted in paving the way for three 600+ yard rushers for the Black Bears.
James, also a member of the All-CAA first team, led a Maine secondary which allowed a league-low 165.4 passing yards per game. James totaled 34 tackles, including 2.5 for loss, to go along with two interceptions, eight pass breakups and blocked a field goal attempt. James, Maine's active leader in games started at 37, recorded his 100th career unassisted tackle earlier in the year.
The New England Football Writers' Association started giving out its annual awards in 1991.