DURHAM, N.H.-University of New Hampshire athletic director Marty Scarano announced today that three football games on the upcoming 2001 schedule will be carried live on Manchester's WMUR-TV (Channel 9).
The three contests include: the season-opener on Sept. 1 vs. perennial top 25 powerhouse Hampton, starting at 1 p.m at Cowell Stadium.; a key Atlantic 10 Football Conference matchup at home on Sept. 8 vs. James Madison (noon), and then the battle for the bragging rights of New Hampshire on Sept. 22 when the Wildcats travel to Hanover to battle cross-state rival Dartmouth (noon).
Handling the play-by-play duties will be WMUR Sports Director Charlie Sherman. Color commentary will be provided by Jamie Staton and Jason King.
"We are excited again this year to have our games broadcast live on WMUR," said third-year head football coach Sean McDonnell. "Charlie and his staff at WMUR have done an outstanding job over the years covering our football program and helping us to spread the word about our team all over the state of New Hampshire."
The television partnership between WMUR and the University of New Hampshire football team is now entering its 13th consecutive season. During that time-span, the station has covered many significant games and milestones. In 1994, the Wildcats won the Yankee Conference title and went on to compete in the NCAA I-AA Playoffs. That same season, head coach Bill Bowes earned his 150th career victory and was named Yankee Conference Coach of the Year. In 1991, the Wildcats were the Yankee Conference Co-Champions and advanced to the playoffs. WMUR also followed the amazing career of Jerry Azumah (95-98), who went on to win the Walter Payton Award in 1998 as the top offensive player in the nation. Azumah, who set numerous NCAA rushing, scoring and all-purpose yardage records, now plays for the NFL's Chicago Bears. Last season, UNH jumped out to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1977 and two of those four contests were carried live on WMUR.
"We are excited to be able to bring UNH football to the entire state, and are especially excited to once again carry the University of New Hampshire-Dartmouth rivalry that began again during the 2000 season," remarked Jeff Bartlett, general manager of WMUR-TV. "With our game-week previews we hope to bring outstanding local athletes the attention they deserve. Great sports contests make for great television, and these three match-ups promise to deliver."
"As New Hampshire's sports leader, we are once again looking forward to bringing UNH football to Granite State sports fans," remarked Charlie Sherman, sports director at WMUR-TV. "Head coach Sean McDonnell's team, led by New Hampshire's own Ryan Day at quarterback, should be one of the top teams in their conference. The 2001 edition of the Wildcats should be one of the most exciting to date."
In addition to the live coverage of the games, WMUR produces features during game weeks highlighting outstanding individual performances and provides previews of upcoming opponents.
WMUR has covered many outstanding UNH players who hail from the Granite State and this year's roster has 11 student-athletes with New Hampshire high school ties. At the top of the list is senior captain and quarterback Ryan Day, who is a native of Manchester and played his high school football at Manchester Central High School. Another key offensive starter and captain from New Hampshire is offensive center Jason Ball out of Londonderry. On the defensive side of the football, senior defensive lineman Mike Wells, out of Salem, should finish high on UNH's career tackles and sack listings, as could senior linebacker John Paul, a product of Manchester Central. All four should be up for post-season honors in 2001.