There was an interesting story out of Boston this week with a Maryland connection —- and it had nothing to do with the Terps’ opponent this week, Boston College.
Instead, it was the decision by Northeastern to drop its football program.
Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown spent four years at the school, rolling up a 27-20 record while the playoffs in the former Division I-AA once. Don’t think of that as a modest accomplishment; only three of the program’s 10 coaches left with even a .400 winning percentage.
“I’ve actually talked to quite a few people on it,” Brown said this week. “I had four good years there. The last two were 10-2 and 8-4, so we had kind of turned the corner. Let’s just say there were a lot of challenges, but it was a unique place.
“We had a good group of kids from in-state and we’d done a good job recruiting Florida. Needless to say, I was really disappointed. I thought of the championship class of 2002 right away. When I got there, they were 2-9, and then we went 4-7 and [5-6] and then we were 10-2. It’s quite a building process. And when your stadium is in someone’s backyard —- you can watch a lady hanging her clothes, that always cracked me up —- but we had it rocking for a while.”
It just didn’t last. The Huskies didn’t enjoy a winning season in the six years since Brown left for Massachusetts, and the school’s decision to leave the football scene (much as Boston University did a decade or so ago) leaves the CAA scrambling to play as an 11-school league next year before Old Dominion joins the conference in 2011.
For Brown, though, the program’s end brought back some memories —- as well as an acknowledgment of who is really hurt the most by the decision.
“Anybody that drops football, it’s just a bad deal because there’s a group of young people that aren’t playing,” Brown said.
—- Patrick Stevens