Staten Island, NY – The accolades continue to pour in for longtime Wagner College head football coach Walt Hameline
, who was named was named the College Sporting News
Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Coach of the year on the heels of his being inducted to the New Jersey Sports Writers Association (NJSWA) Hall of Fame
Hameline’s 2012 Seahawks defied the odds throughout a triumphant march to the school’s first-ever Northeast Conference (NEC) title and the conference’s first-ever NCAA FCS win.
In compiling a 9-4 record, including a 7-1 mark in the NEC, Wagner finished the season ranked 21st in The Sports Network Final Top-25 Poll and 22nd in the Final FCS Coaches Poll, marking the first time an NEC team has ended the season with an appearance in both official Top-25 polls. In 2011, Albany was ranked No. 22 in the final Coaches Poll, but was in the receiving votes category (No. 26) in The Sports Network Poll.
In an already well-decorated coaching career at Wagner that saw him reach the 200-win mark in 2010, Hameline, in the nine months alone, has achieved the following honors:
Jan. 21, 2013 Named College Football News FCS National Coach of the Year
Jan. 20, 2013 Inducted into the New Jersey Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame
Jan. 7, 2013 Wagner Becomes First NEC Football Team Ever Ranked in Both Final Official Top-25 Polls
Nov. 24, 2012 Wagner Earns First NCAA Playoff Win in NEC History over Colgate
Nov. 21, 2012 Named Northeast Conference Coach of the Year
Nov. 19, 2012 Named one of 20 finalists for the prestigious Eddie Robinson Award
Nov. 17, 2012 Clinches Wagner football’s first-ever NEC Title
Sept. 15. 2012 Wagner College Stadium Renamed “Hameline Field.”
Sept. 15, 2012 25-Year Reunion of 1987 Division III National Championship Team
Sept. 1, 2012 Julian Stanford Becomes Makes NFL Roster
April 26, 2012 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the MBWA
In a ceremony prior to the Monmouth game on September 15, the field at Wagner College Stadium was re-named “Hameline Field” in his honor. Additionally, Hameline saw his first former player crack the NFL ranks when outside linebacker Julian Stanford earned a spot on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 53-man roster. In doing so, Stanford became the first Seahawk in the NFL since Wagner Hall of Famer Rich Kotite suited up for the New York Giants in 1972.
The outset of Hameline’s 32nd season offered little hint of the late-season promise to come. Picked seventh in the NEC Preseason Poll, the Seahawks dropped narrow road decisions at FBS member Florida Atlantic (7-3) and at Georgetown (13-10), before being outscored 38-17 a home decision to Monmouth in the NEC opener. In week four, things clicked for Wagner during a convincing 31-13 victory at Central Connecticut, the first in the nine-game win streak, the Seahawks’ longest since 1981. Wins then ensued over Sacred Heart (12-0), St. Francis U (31-24), Robert Morris (23-13), Albany (30-0) and Holy Cross (31-30).
On November 17, Wagner completed the improbable regular season run with a thrilling 23-17 come-from-behind victory over Duquesne, while clinching a berth in the 2012 Division I Football Championship. The win paralleled the Green & White’s exhilarating season, rough at the start followed by a smooth ending.
When the dust settled on the 2012 regular season, Wagner sported an 8-3 record, an eight-game win streak, (which would become nine the following week) Hameline was the NEC Coach of the Year and Eight Seahawks were named to the All-NEC team. A week prior, Hameline was one of 20 nominees for the Eddie Robinson Award, which, since 1987, has been awarded annually to college football’s top head coach in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
Perhaps the enduring moments of the 2012 season will center on the events surrounding Wagner’s eye-opening 30-0 victory at No. 18 Albany in the week following Hurricane Sandy. This result was even more impressive in light of the fact the Seahawks prepared for the Great Danes with no electricity on campus, which meant no hot food and no hot water. Team members were provided a large dose of perspective when, two days after returning from the state capital, they, along with their head coach, aided in the recovery efforts at New Dorp High School and in some of Staten Island’s neighborhoods that were most devastated by the storm.
Following the NEC-clinching win over Duquesne, the following day’s NCAA Selection Show on ESPNU delivered the news that Wagner would host a first-round home game on November 24, opposite Patriot League champion and 24th-ranked Colgate.. In front of a raucous crowd of 3,032 and an audience viewing in on ESPN 3, the offense, led by record-breaking senior quarterback Nick Doscher(Staten Island, NY/ Moore Catholic) and junior running back Dominique Williams (Bridgeton, NJ/ Milford), in concert with the NEC’s No. 1 defense, carried Wagner to a 31-20 win, snapping Colgate’s seven-game win streak.
In the second round of the NCAA Playoffs, which was also viewed on thousands of computers via ESPN 3, in addition to on a big screen in the Wagner cafeteria and in many several restaraunts throughout Staten Island, Wagner battled No. 4 Eastern Washington in Spokane, taking a 19-14 third-quarter lead before falling 29-19.