New Hampshire Wildcats football
The New Hampshire Wildcats football program is the intercollegiate American football team for the University of New Hampshire located in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. The Wildcats compete in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). The team plays its home games at the 11,000 seat Wildcat Stadium in Durham, New Hampshire, and are led by head coach Sean McDonnell, who returned to the program after missing the 2019 season due to a medical issue.
|New Hampshire Wildcats|
|Athletic director||Marty Scarano|
|Head coach||Sean McDonnell |
21st season, 154–96 (.616)
|Location||Durham, New Hampshire|
|NCAA division||Division I FCS|
|Conference||Colonial Athletic Association|
|All-time record||538–445–55 (.545)|
|Colors||Blue, Gray, and White|
|Mascot||Wild E. Cat|
The school has fielded a varsity football team annually since 1893, with the exception of one year during World War I and two years during World War II. Bill Bowes, who served as head coach from 1972 to 1998, is an inductee of the College Football Hall of Fame.
The Wildcats have played their home football games at several venues in Durham. Prior to the current stadium, which has been in use since 1936, the team played its home games on Memorial Field from 1921 through 1935. Memorial Field remains in use by the women's field hockey team. Memorial Field was constructed to "honor the memory of those New Hampshire men who gave their lives for their country during the great World War." Funded by donations from alumni, it was built on the site of the prior athletic field, which had been referred to as the College Oval.
- unknown–1920: College Oval
- 1921–1935: Memorial Field
- 1936–present: Wildcat Stadium
Notable former playersEdit
Notable team captains during the program's early years include:
- E. Dewey Graham (captain 1919), went on to become head coach at Norwich University.
- Red Howard (freshman captain 1919), played varsity at Princeton and two seasons in the NFL in the mid-1920s.
- Dutch Connor (captain 1921), played two seasons in the NFL in the mid-1920s, and succeeded Graham as head coach at Norwich.
- Cy Wentworth (captain 1923 & 1924), played three seasons in the NFL in the late 1920s.
Alumni who are notable for other achievements, outside of playing professional football, include:
- QB John J. Ryan (1906), college sports head coach, including Wisconsin football and Marquette basketball
- RB Lou D'Allesandro (1958–1960), New Hampshire State Senator
- QB Ryan Day (1998–2001), Ohio State head coach
- DB Chip Kelly (1986–1989), NCAA and NFL coach
- LB Rod Langway (1975–1976), NHL player who played both football and ice hockey for UNH
- DB Sean McDonnell (1975–1978), Wildcats football head coach since 1999
The below table lists the win–loss record for head coaches throughout program history. The team had its first formal head coach, John Scannell, during the 1902 season. Some opponents in early years were high school teams; for example, the 1895 team did not face any college teams in its six-game schedule. Other opponents into the 1920s were military teams (different than service academy programs, such as Army); an example being the 1926 team facing the Quantico Marines.
The school was not a member of any conference prior to the 1923 season. Since 1973, the team has played in NCAA classifications with postseason tournaments (playoffs).
|2||G. B. Ward||1904||7||2||5||0||.286||0|
|7||Ray B. Thomas||1910–1911||13||3||8||2||.308||0|
|9||T. D. Sheppard||1914||9||1||6||2||.222||0|
|10||William Cowell||1915–1917, 1919–1936||178||87||68||23||.553||17||9||4||.633||2||0|
|20||Sean McDonnell||1999–2018, 2020–present||250||154||96||0||.616||98||66||0||.598||14||14||2||0|
The 1944 schedule was limited to four games, with players restricted to 17-year-olds and returning veterans.
McDonnell began a medical leave at the start of the 2019 season, with Santos named interim head coach; McDonnell returned the following season.
The team has appeared in one bowl game during its history:
|December 6, 1947||Glass Bowl||Toledo||L||14||20|
- While listed in NCAA records, the Glass Bowl is not considered an NCAA-sanctioned bowl game.
- The Wildcats also played in one Division II playoff game that was known, for historical reasons, by a bowl name. As that game was part of a tournament bracket, it is not listed in this section (see below).
Division II playoffsEdit
The team made the postseason twice during the time it competed in Division II (1973–1977), compiling an overall record of 1–2:
- In the 1975 NCAA Division II postseason, the Wildcats defeated Lehigh in the first round, 35–21. The Wildcats then played Western Kentucky in the 1975 Grantland Rice Bowl semifinal game, losing 14–3.
- In the 1976 NCAA Division II postseason, the Wildcats lost to Montana State in the first round, 17–16; Montana State went on to win the Division II championship.
Division I-AA/FCS playoffsEdit
The Wildcats have appeared in the Division I-AA/FCS Playoffs 16 times, playing 30 postseason games. Their overall record is 14–16.
|1991||First Round||Samford||L 13–29|
|1994||First Round||Appalachian State||L 10–17|
|2007||First Round||Northern Iowa||L 35–38|
|2011||Second Round||Montana State||L 25–26|
|2012||Second Round||Wofford||L 7–23|
North Dakota State
|2015||First Round||Colgate||L 20–27|
South Dakota State
The football programs of New Hampshire and the Maine Black Bears first met in 1903, and have met annually since 1922, except for two season during World War II and during the 2020 season due to impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 1948, the winning team gets possession of an antique musket until the next season's game. The teams met for the 100th time in 2010.
The football programs of New Hampshire and the UMass Minutemen first met in 1897, and most recently met in 2011. Since 1986, the most outstanding player of the matchup has been awarded the Bill Knight Trophy. However, the future of the rivalry is in question, as the two programs are now in different NCAA football classifications. The teams met for the 70th time in 2007.
The football programs of New Hampshire and the Dartmouth Big Green first met in 1901, and most recently met in 2016. The next meeting between the teams is scheduled for the 2021 season. The teams met for the 35th time in 2007.
A longtime UNH librarian, Robert Morin, died in 2015 and left $4 million to the University; $1 million of that money was spent on a new video scoreboard for the football stadium, and the decision to spend so much of the donation on a scoreboard became a controversial topic. University officials explained that there was no instruction on how to spend the money, other than $100,000 for the library. It was also noted that Morin started watching and became particularly interested in football towards the end of his life.
- New Hampshire's media guide lists Edward Herr as head coach for the 1905 season, in addition to the 1906 and 1907 seasons. However, this is not corroborated by contemporary sources, as Herr was a student at Dartmouth through the 1905–06 academic year, and upon his hiring at Vermont for the 1908 season it was noted that he had been coach at New Hampshire for the prior two years.
- "Athletics Branding". University of New Hampshire Brand & Visual Guidelines. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- Connolly, John (August 27, 2019). "New Hampshire football coach Sean McDonnell on leave for health reasons". Boston Herald. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
- Lessels, Allen (April 16, 2020). "MAC'S BACK: After losing a season to bladder cancer, UNH football coach Sean McDonnell medically cleared". seacoastonline.com. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
- "Memorial Field Then". unh.edu. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
- "Alumni Plan Memorial Field to Honor Men Who Died in War". The New Hampshire. 9 (28). May 12, 1920. p. 3. Retrieved February 21, 2020 – via library.unh.edu.
- "New Hampshire State College vs. University of Vermont". The Portsmouth Herald. Portsmouth, New Hampshire. October 15, 1920. p. 1. Retrieved February 20, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
- "Colby Holds New Hampshire to 7-7 Tie in Final Home Game". The New Hampshire. 10 (7). November 10, 1920. pp. 1, 4. Retrieved February 20, 2020 – via library.unh.edu.
- "New Hampshire Runs Wild Against M. A. C." The Boston Globe. November 13, 1921. p. 19. Retrieved January 25, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
- "N. H.-Tufts". The Boston Globe. November 9, 1935. p. 9. Retrieved January 25, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
- "New Hampshire Opens New Field in Victory". Hartford Courant. Hartford, Connecticut. AP. September 27, 1936. p. 45. Retrieved January 24, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
- "Dedication Day At New Hampshire Spoiled By Maine". Hartford Courant. Hartford, Connecticut. AP. October 11, 1936. p. 49. Retrieved November 29, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- "UNH Football Field Is Cowell Stadium". The Burlington Free Press. Burlington, Vermont. AP. June 19, 1952. p. 21. Retrieved November 29, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- "Wildcats in the NFL". unh.prestosports.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2014. Retrieved 27 November 2014 – via Wayback Machine.
- "UNHWildcats.com – University of New Hampshire Official Athletics Website:All-time UNH Football Coaching Records". Unh.prestosports.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2014. Retrieved 27 November 2014 – via Wayback Machine.
- "2017 New Hampshire Media Guide". University of New Hampshire. 2017. p. 66. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
- "Football Coach". The Burlington Free Press. Burlington, Vermont. May 6, 1908. p. 8. Retrieved April 27, 2020 – via Wayback Machine.
- "High School Coach Will Lead Wildcats". The Portsmouth Herald. Portsmouth, New Hampshire. September 15, 1944. p. 6. Retrieved November 24, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- Bailey, David (December 19, 2014). "Gridiron Garb: UNH Wildcats (1975)".
- Pike, Al. "UNH football: McDonnell looks back at last game against Montana State". seacoastonline.com.
- "Fordham vs. New Hampshire - Game Summary - December 6, 2014 - ESPN". ESPN.com.
- "Chattanooga vs. New Hampshire - Game Summary - December 12, 2014 - ESPN". ESPN.com.
- "Illinois State vs. New Hampshire - Game Summary - December 20, 2014 - ESPN". ESPN.com.
- "Colgate vs. New Hampshire - Game Summary - November 28, 2015 - ESPN". ESPN.com.
- "Lehigh vs. New Hampshire - Game Summary - November 26, 2016 - ESPN". ESPN.com.
- "New Hampshire vs. James Madison - Game Summary - December 3, 2016 - ESPN". ESPN.com.
- Chappell, Bill (September 15, 2016). "$1 Million Of Frugal Librarian's Bequest To N.H. School Goes To Football Scoreboard". NPR. Retrieved January 15, 2017 – via npr.org.
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