|Mike Lichten will more than a whole year to recruit players and do all the other things necessary to start a brand-new D-III football team.|
The University of New England has selected former Becker coach Mike Lichten as its head football coach. UNE associate vice president and athletic director Jack McDonald made the announcement at a morning news conference held at the Harold Alfond Forum.
Lichten comes to UNE after serving as head coach of the Hawks for the past five seasons. While at Becker, Lichten transformed the Hawks' program, culminating with a 2015 season that featured a school-record seven victories and undefeated record at home. For his efforts Lichten was selected Eastern Collegiate Football Conference Coach of the Year. He coached 49 all-conference selections over his five-year tenure.
In its initial announcement in December 2014, UNE noted it would add football as soon as 2017. It will, but that will be a non-varsity/developmental season, with full competition starting in the fall of 2018.
In its most recent filing for the U.S. Department of Education, UNE reported 2,190 full-time undergraduates, just 647 men. Adding a hundred men will help that balance.
Last month, Lichten attended the American Football Coaches Association 30 Under 30 Leadership Institute in San Antonio. He was selected from a pool of nearly 200 applicants and attended lectures on topics including ethics, leadership, NCAA rules, financial management, hiring and player safety.
Lichten was the defensive coordinator at Becker in 2010 after spending two seasons as wide receivers coach and defensive backs coach at Northeastern (2008-2009).
A 2008 graduate of New Hampshire, Lichten attained a bachelor of arts degree in history with a minor in education. He is currently pursuing a master of science degree in coaching education from Ohio University and is a native of Newton, Mass.
McDonald feels Lichten is the ideal person to build the Nor'easters' football program and is excited to add him to UNE's talented and accomplished coaching staff.
"From the very beginning of our search process that included more than 250 candidates, we received numerous nominations, recommendations and excellent references on Mike," commented McDonald. "These references were not only from some well-respected football people, but also from university, student affairs and many other non-athletics professionals. Mike really impressed our search committee and others on campus who shared in the interview process, and we are very, very pleased that he will be the coach of our first varsity team. Mike brings excellent experience in building a Division III football program that is committed to academics, athletics and community service."
McDonald continued: "I am also extremely grateful to the chair of our search committee, Dennis Leighton, as well as all committee members for their many, many hours during this very successful search process."
"I am honored and humbled to be the first football coach at the University of New England," Lichten said. "The opportunity to work for and represent President Ripich and Jack McDonald as we build a program that all of Maine and UNE will be proud of is exciting, and I cannot wait to get started. I am grateful for the opportunities I had at Becker College and the people I learned so much from these past five seasons. Creating a winning culture focused on academics, athletics and service in a program centered around the growth and experience of the players is going to be an incredibly rewarding challenge at UNE."
UNE will begin varsity competition in the Commonwealth Coast Conference in 2018. The Nor'easters will open their varsity schedule Aug. 30, 2018 vs. Coast Guard at Cadet Field in New London, Conn.