FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2013
A year ago, Merrimack quarterback Joe Clancy was living the dream.
Anything that could go right usually did. He was named Northeast-10 Offensive Player of the Year and was an All-Conference First Team selection after leading the Warriors to a 6-4 finish. Clancy led the NE-10 in completions (323), yards (3,945) and passing touchdowns (31). Clancy connected on 63 percent of his passes (323-of-510) and averaged nearly 400 yards per game.
The 6-foot-3 Newburyport native’s efforts did not go unnoticed. He won the Harry Agganis Award, which recognizes top college football players in the region and has been given to Dick Jauron, Doug Flutie, Gordie Lockbaum, Robert Dougherty, Matt Ryan and Liam Coen, among others. It was heady stuff for a player who paid his dues and sat for two seasons behind James Suozzo.
“I didn’t think it could ever happen with the way everything unfolded the way it did,’’ Clancy said after yesterday’s practice. “It was a nice experience and it was nice to run the offense the way coach John Perry and coach Dan Curran wanted, and it was nice that they gave me that responsibility. I’m very humbled by that. We had a great group of guys on the offensive line and some great receivers. It all came together.”
The decision to play at Merrimack was a no-brainer.
“During the recruiting process, a lot of schools approached me, but coach Perry just sold me on the work ethic of the team and the expectations of the team,” said Clancy, who begins his season next Friday against Wagner. “He demanded greatness, and I could see that the football program was going in the right direction.”
Perry moved on after last season to become an offensive assistant at Delaware. Curran, Perry’s offensive coordinator, is taking the reins and brings a strong pedigree having spent eight years playing professional football, including stints with Seattle and New Orleans.
A Chelmsford native who scored 16 touchdowns and ran for more than 1,000 yards as a senior at UNH, Curran knows a little something about getting the football into the end zone. Clancy, a fifth-year senior, is the perfect quarterback to help Curran in his first season at the helm.
“Obviously we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing, But I think we’ll be more balanced,” said Curran, who plans to use running backs Quinn McDonough (Malden Catholic) and Armond McRae as much as possible.
“Joe is a real good decision-maker. Every play we run is based on decision-making with the ball, and Joe has gone from being a good player to a mature leader. I joked around with Joe that timing is everything in life. They (Clancy and Suozzo) were different quarterbacks. James had athletic ability that was off the charts and could throw it 80 yards downfield, but Joe’s commitment and hard work have gone to a whole other level. You don’t always anticipate having the No. 1 offensive passer in the country, and he has all those other intangibles.”
Merrimack has two recent graduates in NFL camps (linebacker Shawn Loiseau is with Indianapolis, and receiver Isaiah Voegeli is with Philadelphia), and Curran believes Clancy might follow a similar career path.
“We’ve had teams come in to look (at him),” Curran said. “Now that Shawn and Isaiah have been in camps, that’s the way the NFL works. The word gets out that you’ve had one or two (players), and they keep coming back. It will open doors.”
For now, Clancy is after the one elusive goal that escaped during his magical campaign.
“Our goal every year is to win a championship. It hasn’t changed,” Clancy said. “We know we have the guys to do it. We know we have the coaches to do it. But every week is a championship week. We just have to remain a humble group and keep doing all the right things to keep chasing that ring.”