#CFB150: Franklin Pierce Looking to Build Its Own Football History

#CFB150: Franklin Pierce Looking to Build Its Own Football History


NE10 Heads Into 23rd Season of Football in 2019.

MANSFIELD, Mass. – College Football celebrates its 150th anniversary in the 2019 season, as programs at all divisions of the NCAA will commemorate this milestone with game presentations all year long – celebrating their programs' history as well as the existence of the sport at the collegiate level.

The Northeast-10 Conference will celebrate this achievement throughout the season by highlighting its nine current football programs – focusing on one each week – between now and early November.

The NE10 has sponsored football since 2001, but has provided football to its student-athletes since 1997 – known back then as the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference.

The actual birthday of college football is November 6, 1869, as it was a matchup between Princeton and Rutgers that marked the first collegiate football game. The NE10 enters its 23rd season in 2019 and is proud to display its history as part of the #CFB150 celebration.



College football has been going on in parts of the country for a century-and-a-half now, but in Rindge, N.H., the experience is just getting started. With the NCAA celebrating 150 years of college football in 2019, this fall marks the first year of Division II competition for the Ravens of Franklin Pierce. While the sport as a whole celebrates 15 decades worth of traditions, Franklin Pierce will set out to begin establishing its own.

Coming off of seven years of fielding a sprint football team, Franklin Pierce elected to make the jump to NCAA Division II competition with its football program for the 2019 season. The Ravens made their NCAA football debut against Wesley College on Sept. 7, 149 years, 10 months and two days after Princeton and Rutgers met for the first collegiate football game in November of 1869.
For the Ravens, the inaugural season schedule features 12 games, including six home contests and six away. Franklin Pierce opens its first-ever NCAA season with a three-game homestand, which will be capped by the team's Northeast-10 Conference debut, a Sept. 21 tilt against Pace.
Perhaps the most interesting date on the calendar comes on Oct. 19 at Sodexo Field, when the Ravens will lock horns for the first time with their intrastate rival, the Hawks of Saint Anselm.
For Franklin Pierce, the main focus of the first year of NCAA football is to build the gameday atmosphere at Sodexo Field and begin building new traditions on campus centered around the football experience. The cornerstone of this plan is the creation of Raven Row, overlooking the north end of Sodexo Field. Raven Row is the official tailgating area for Franklin Pierce football games, with fans able to purchase tents to secure their tailgate location.
Presented in conjunction with Raven Row was the opening of The GAS Station, which is a beer garden area within the tailgate zone, and takes its name from Franklin Pierce head coach Russell Gaskamp. Raven Row sits atop a hill which abuts the north end of Sodexo Field, with the plan being to utilize the hill as the facility's student section for football games.
With Raven Row sold out for the entire 2019 season and approximately 1600 fans in attendance for the opening game, Franklin Pierce appears well on its way to establishing its own college football traditions.
The man charged with leading the Ravens into this brave new era? That would be head coach Russell Gaskamp, who came to Rindge following seven years at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, which played at the Division II level for the first five years of his tenure. Prior to OPSU, Gaskamp was also an assistant coach at the Division II level for Angelo State, Southwestern Oklahoma State and Texas A&M-Commerce. Gaskamp's biggest claim to fame is his time as the starting center at the University of Texas, where he helped pave the way for Ricky Williams during the latter's Heisman Trophy season of 1998.
Joining Gaskamp is an eclectic group of assistant coaches featuring experience at all three NCAA divisions. Assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Taylor Ewen spent time at the Division III level with Husson and his alma mater, Anna Maria, as well as at the Division II level with Lindenwood, before coming to Rindge. Offensive coordinator Bob Davies played at Division I Monmouth and spent time at both Princeton and St. Lawrence over the last two seasons. Special teams coordinator Kevin King was with Gaskamp at OPSU and previously spent three years as a graduate assistant at Division I Southern. Recruiting coordinator Larry Dace played Division I ball at Tulane and then coached at the high school level in New Orleans. Defensive line coach Ricardo Olivieri played at Division II Washburn before coaching at the high school level in Florida.
Franklin Pierce may be joining the college football family 150 years after it started, but the Ravens have their eyes set on providing Rindge with an exciting college football experience for many years to come.

The 23rd season of NE10 football continues on Friday night, Sept. 13, as Southern Connecticut travels to play Pace (7:00 p.m.). The rest of the Week 2 schedule is below and all games will be available on NE10 NOW:

Friday, Sept. 13

Southern Connecticut at Pace - 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 14

Bentley at American International - 12 p.m.
Curry at Franklin Pierce - 12 p.m.
Saint Anselm at Assumption - 12 p.m.
New Haven at Stonehill - 2:30 p.m. 

The NE10 is an association of 14 diverse institutions serving student-athletes across 24 NCAA Division II sports. Together we build brilliant futures by embracing the journey of every student-athlete. 

Each year, 4,500 student-athletes compete in conference championships, making the NE10 the largest DII conference in the country in terms of sport sponsorship. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the NE10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.