Football: Hassan hosts Wildcats

Members of the 2013 UNH football team were celebrated for the program’s best-ever postseason finish.

By Max Sullivan
On February 7, 2014

The UNH football team was honored for the 2013 season by Governor of New Hampshire Maggie Hassan and the New Hampshire Senate at the Capitol Building in Concord last Thursday, Jan. 30. The team set program records in the postseason, and made it to their first-ever national semifinal.

"To have all our accomplishments this season, and to be recognized by the governor and senate, it really meant a lot to us," co-captain and running back Chris Setian said. "It's kind of a finishing cap [for] all the things that we did."

Setian, Seamus O'Neill, Justin Mello, Manny Asam, Nico Steriti, Alexander Morrill, Tim Pike, Andy Vailas, Chris Houston, Dalton Crossan, Rob Bowman, Matt Kaplan, Sean Ryan and Harold Spears were present with head coach Sean McDonnell and Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations Bobby Callahan on Thursday morning's visit to the Capitol Building. They arrived at roughly 9:30 a.m. when they were greeted by New Hampshire Senator Lou D'Allesandro. From there, they entered the senate chamber, were introduced and stood together while D'Allesandro read the proclamation that honored the team. 

"Now, therefore, be it resolved," D'Allesandro read earlier in the senate chamber, "That the New Hampshire state senate recognizes and congratulates the UNH 2013 football team on an outstanding season and further that the New Hampshire state senate wishes the team and future teams continued success."

Upon finishing, D'Allesandro looked up and said, "Congratulations to great Americans!"

After hearing from the senate, the team went into Governor Hassan's office, where she introduced herself and read a similar proclamation.

"Now, therefore, I, Margaret Wood Hassan, Governor of the state of New Hampshire, hereby commend the University of New Hampshire football team for their hard work and dedication," Hassan read to the team, "And encourage all residents of New Hampshire to recognize their tremendous accomplishments on and off the field."

Setian and O'Neill spent some time in D'Allesandro's office alone with the senator, who once played football at UNH himself. D'Allesandro showed Setian and O'Neill pictures of himself as a young man playing for the Wildcats as the three talked about the 2013 season.

"It was pretty cool how much he cared about the program," Setian said. "To think that it's not just the school behind you, but the entire state, it's a really big deal. It really means a lot."

Setian, aware that the University is trying to raise funds for a new stadium, said he's glad that people like D'Allesandro are keeping tabs on their progress for that reason as well.

"We're pushing for a new stadium, and those are the people that we really need the support [from]," Setian said. "And the fact that we have it, people like Governor Hassan there, it's great. It really truly means a lot."

Moments like the commemoration they received last Thursday remind Setian that the wounds from losing to North Dakota State in the semifinal this past December will heal, and that the team accomplished plenty to be proud of this year.

"Absolutely [it reminds him]," Setian said. "It's getting very hard [for UNH] not to be nationally recognized anymore as UNH is. It's getting hard for people not to notice how good of a program, and how well we're doing, and that is credited to players on the team, coaching staff the university and the backing that we get from the state, as well, which I've come to realize is very strong. It's pretty cool to be part of that."

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