Now, looking back, he can see some signs that the football players didn’t have the support of the administration.
Football posters with the 2009 schedule weren’t made. The team was told to empty its locker rooms at the end of the season, something it hadn’t been asked to do in previous years.
Then in December, two weeks before finals, the players were notified of an emergency meeting. The notice came while some were in the middle of class. Some went to the meeting, some skipped and some say they didn’t receive the notice.
At most, the players thought head coach Dave Cohen was getting fired after a 5-6 season. (Cohen, now a defensive coordinator and linebacker coach for Western Michigan, declined comment).
Former guard Armand Poole couldn’t go to the meeting because he was on crutches. Still recovering from surgery, he was just starting a six to nine-month rehab program.
“It was like a double shock for me because I couldn’t do anything at the time,” he said.
Poole, then a junior, spent the spring semester at Hofstra and considered his options. Now at Stony Brook, along with four other former Hofstra players, Poole said he did not consider staying at Hofstra for his last year. If any players chose to remain at Hofstra, the university said they would honor their scholarships.
“I always knew I would continue playing football somewhere,” he said. “It was just a matter of where.”
More than 10 of its then-current players were transfers. They had already uprooted their lives once for Hofstra, and now, to continue their playing careers, they would have to do so again.
Coaches from other schools began filing in, eager to see which of Hofstra’s players could fit into their programs. Cohen and his staff contacted other coaches, pitching their players as possible prospects.
“They really just were in their office more than they were in the season,” wide receiver Anthony Nelson said. “They knew they didn’t have a job at Hofstra, but they still” fulfilled their commitment to the team.
Most players were able to find schools before the spring semester started.
Now they have new schools, coaches, teammates and uniforms. A new season awaits. They’ve made friends, adjusted to new teams and maneuvered their way on campus.
“You’re almost like a freshman again,” said wide receiver Aaron Weaver, now at Syracuse.
Still, they miss the good times they had with their teammates at Hofstra, and can’t forget how it all ended.