#CFB150: History of Football in the Northeast-10 Conference

#CFB150: History of Football in the Northeast-10 Conference


NE10 Heads Into 23rd Season of Football in 2019.

MANSFIELD, Mass. – College Football celebrates its 150th anniversary in the 2019 season, as programs at all divisions of the NCAA will commemorate this milestone with game presentations all year long – celebrating their programs' history as well as the existence of the sport at the collegiate level.

The Northeast-10 Conference will celebrate this achievement throughout the season by highlighting its nine current football programs – focusing on one each week – between now and early November.

The NE10 has sponsored football since 2001, but has provided football to its student-athletes since 1997 – known back then as the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference.

The actual birthday of college football is November 6, 1869, as it was a matchup between Princeton and Rutgers that marked the first collegiate football game. The NE10 enters its 23rd season in 2019 and is proud to display its history as part of the #CFB150 celebration.



The NE10 debuted football as its 18th championship sport in 2001, though the football league can be traced back to the old Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) – which was a conglomerate of Division II and III programs in New England.

In 1996, the Division II programs decided to form a Division II-only league called the Eastern Football Conference (EFC) – which officially began in 1997. The league drew from three major Division II conferences in the region: the New York Collegiate (NYCAC), New England Collegiate (NECC) and Northeast-10.

The NECC disbanded in 2000 and four schools came into the NE10 (Franklin Pierce, SCSU, SNHU and UMass-Lowell). Albany, Sacred Heart and Stony Brook – original EFC schools – had already left for Division I and because Bryant and Saint Anselm started programs in 1999, 10 of the 11 remaining football schools were NE10 members.

At that point, it was a natural conclusion for the NE10 to absorb all administrative needs and form its own league – beginning in 2001. Only C.W. Post (full-time NYCAC member) remained an associate NE10 member for football.

Albany won the first two EFC Championships, while American International won the last two in 1999 and 2000. In 2001, it was LIU/C.W. Post that won the first-ever NE10 Football Championship with a victory over Bentley.





Art Wilkins – American International – 26th Season

Wilkins has been with the Northeast-10 Conference since it first began to sponsor football in 2001, and even before then. He has led the Yellow Jackets to a pair of Eastern Football Conference titles (1999, 2000) and to three NE10 championships (2008, 2010, 2013). Wilkins ranks sixth among active Division II coaches with 147 career wins, while he holds the NE10 record with 126 conference wins.

Bryan Collins – LIU Post – 22nd Season

Collins has been with the Pioneers since their days in the Eastern Football Conference. Upon the creation of Northeast-10 football, Collins led LIU Post to the first-ever NE10 Championship in 2001 with a win over Bentley, 43-6. Collins has a remarkable conference record of 114-29 (.797) between the EFC and NE10 and led the Pioneers to a record eight league titles – despite LIU Post's years in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference from 2008-2012. He continues to coach the team, as they play in Division I in 2019.



Only three schools in NE10 football history have a program that reached the NCAA quarterfinals – and most recently, it was the 2017 Assumption Greyhounds that found a way to make a lasting impact on the collegiate and professional football world.

The Greyhounds went 11-2 overall during the 2017 season, including an 8-1 mark in NE10 play, capturing a sole share of the Northeast-10 Championship. However, Assumption was far from done. Head coach Bob Chesney led the program to a pair of NCAA Tournament wins over California (Pa.) and Findlay, matching the longest NCAA postseason run of any NE10 football program in history.

Assumption was led by dynamic return specialist Deonte Harris. As a junior in 2017, Harris was named NE10 Most Valuable Player for his remarkable season with 17 total touchdowns – including eight on kick returns. He had 1,965 all-purpose yards, accounting for 362 yards and four touchdowns in the NCAA Second Round against Findlay.

Additionally, Andrew Benson earned NE10 Defensive Player of the Year and Ray Sarkodieh was named Defensive Lineman of the Year. The duo helped Assumption to the best defense in the league, allowing just 15.5 points per game and leading the NE10 in sacks, fumbles recovered, interceptions and defensive touchdowns. Chesney took home Coach of the Year honors after leading the Greyhounds to their best season in program history.

As of 2019, Chesney is now coaching in Division I at Holy Cross, Harris is signed with the New Orleans Saints, and Fred Mitchell Award winner Cole Tracy transferred to play his senior season for nationally-ranked LSU as their placekicker in 2018.


2011 New Haven Chargers: 11-2 Overall (8-0 NE10), NE10 Champions, Advanced to NCAA Quarterfinals

2005 LIU/C.W. Post: 10-3 Overall (8-1 NE10), NE10 Champions, Advanced to NCAA Quarterfinals


1997: Albany and American International
2002: LIU/C.W. Post
2003: Bentley
2008: American International
2011: New Haven
2012: New Haven
2016: LIU Post
2018: LIU Post



Deonte Harris, Assumption (2015-18)

-Owns NCAA All-Division Record for career combined return TD (14).
-Three-time All-Conference player, including NE10 Rookie of the Year in 2015, Most Valuable Player in 2017, and First Team All-Conference in 2018.
-2015 Don Hansen Football Gazette Second Team All-American, 2017 Second Team All-American by D2football.com, 2017 Conference Commissioner's Association First Team All-American, Two-time American Football Coaches Association All-American.
-Owns NCAA DII record for single-season combined return TD (8) in 2017.
-School records in career touchdowns (45), all-purpose yards (6,173), combined touchdown returns (14), punt returns for touchdowns (8) and kick returns for touchdowns (6).
-Helped the Greyhounds win the 2015 and 2017 NE10 Championships, reaching the NCAA quarterfinals in his junior season.

Marc Eddy, Bentley (2001-04)

-Threw for the most touchdowns in NE10 history, accounting for 121 passing scores during his career – ninth-most in Division II history.
-Two-time NE10 Most Valuable Player (2003-04), as well as Offensive Player of the Year in 2002 and Rookie of the Year in 2001. Named D2football.com Second Team All-American in 2004, as well as CollegeSportsReport.com Division II Fourth Team.
-Ranks second in NE10 history in career passing yards with 11,035. Holds NE10 records with 134 consecutive passes without an interception and 28 consecutive games with a touchdown pass.
-Led the Falcons to a pair of NE10 titles (2003-04), including an undefeated conference record of 9-0 in 2003.

Dallas Mall, Bentley (2001-04)

-All-time NE10 leader in career receiving yards (4,347) and career receiving touchdowns (78).
-His 78 career touchdown receptions are the most in NCAA history across all divisions, averaging nearly two receiving scores per game (78 TDs in 44 career games).
-Four-time First Team All-Conference player in the NE10. Named CollegeSportsReport.com Division II First Team All-American in 2003 and 2004. AP Little First Team All-American in 2004, as well as Don Hansen's FB Gazette Division II First Team.
-Ranks 12th in all-time receiving yards in all of Division II, but first all-time among schools in New England.
-Helped Bentley to NE10 Championships in 2003 and 2004, as he was named the league's Offensive Player of the Year in 2004.

Ian Smart, C.W. Post (1999-2002)

-Holds NE10 records in career rushing yards (6,647), which is eighth all-time in Division II history, and rushing touchdowns (64).  
-Two-time NE10 Most Valuable Player (2001-02). He was MVP in the NE10's first season of sponsoring football. Three-time First Team All-Conference Player and a two-time First Team All-America selection.
-His 570 career points rank fifth all-time in Division II, behind the likes of NFL players Danny Woodhead and Joique Bell.
-Led the Pioneers to consecutive NE10 titles in 2001 and 2002, ending his career as the school's all-time leading rusher in touchdowns (95).
-Set school records as a senior with 2,536 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns.

Andrew Jackson, Merrimack (2004-08)

-Tied for the NCAA Division II record for most kickoffs returned for a touchdown in a single-season with four in 2005.
-Four-time NE10 First Team All-Conference player on both sides of the ball, as a return specialist (Offense) and defensive back (Defense).
-2008 American Football Coaches Association First Team All-American. 2005 D2Football.com All-American Honorable Mention. Four-time All-New England selection.
-Totaled 206 tackles in 43 games as defensive back, accounting for 9.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 16 interceptions – tied for fourth-most in NE10 history.
-Averaged 30.2 yards per kick return in his career, sixth-highest total in NCAA Division II history. Averaged 41.6 yards per return in 2005, the highest mark of any player in the country.
-Recorded seven combined touchdown returns, six on kicks (including four in his redshirt freshman season) and one on a punt. Tallied 2,807 all-purpose yards during his career.
-Helped Merrimack win a share of the 2006 NE10 Championship, leading the Warriors to a 30-22 overall record (25-18 NE10) during his seasons with the program (five years due to injury as a freshman). Merrimack advanced to the NCAA Second Round in 2006.

Tyler Condit, New Haven (2013-16)

-All-time tackles leader in NE10 history (453), 10th-most in all of Division II, and earned the 2015 NE10 Defensive Player of the Year Award.
-Three-time First Team All-Conference player at New Haven, helping the Chargers to a 28-16 overall record (26-10 NE10) in his career.
-2016 D2Football.com All-America Honorable Mention. 2015 USA College Football First Team All-American and D2Football.com All-America Honorable Mention. 2014 USA College Football Honorable Mention.
-Recorded over 100 tackles in three of his four seasons at New Haven, including an NE10 single-season record 160 tackles during 2015.
-Holds NE10 record for most total tackles in a game with 25, a feat he accomplished twice in 2015.
-Recorded two of the top five single-season tackle outputs in NE10 history, accounting for 160 in 2015 and 133 in 2014.



The 23rd season of NE10 football begins on Thursday night, Sept. 5, as Southern Connecticut hosts Gannon (6:30 p.m.) and Pace welcomes Millersville (7 p.m.). The rest of the opening weekend schedule is the following:

Friday, Sept. 6

California (Pa.) at Saint Anselm - 6 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 7

Bentley at West Chester - 12 p.m.
Wesley at Franklin Pierce - 12 p.m.
Assumption at Kutztown - 12 p.m.
Bowie State at American International - 12 p.m.
New Haven at Indiana (Pa.) - 1 p.m.
Stonehill at Bloomsburg - 2 p.m. 

The NE10 is an association of 14 diverse institutions serving student-athletes across 24 NCAA Division II sports. Together we build brilliant futures by embracing the journey of every student-athlete. 

Each year, 4,500 student-athletes compete in conference championships, making the NE10 the largest DII conference in the country in terms of sport sponsorship. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the NE10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.