Coach Emery with his kids following the NEFC Championship game.
– Keith Emery
is a man of his word.
When the Enfield, Connecticut native became the first full-time football coach at Western New England in 2005, he promised he would build and create a program that focused on teamwork and continued success.
Emery did just that and the fruits of his hard work paid off this fall when the Golden Bears posted a 10-2 record for the best mark in the program's 41-year history.
His team also captured the program's first New England Football Conference (NEFC) title and made its inaugural appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship.
For his efforts, Emery was selected the New England Football Writers Association Division II/III Coach-of-the-Year on Friday (Dec. 2). He will receive his award at the association's annual Captains Banquet on Thursday (Dec. 8) in Stoneham, Massachusetts.
It's been a season that Emery and his coaching staff and players will never forget.
Excitement was high when pre-season camp started in August thanks to the return of several starters from last's squad, which posted a then school-best 9-2 record.
The enthusiasm was dampened when Emery's father Donald passed away two days before the season opener against Norwich. Donald Emery had attended every game his son had coached the previous six seasons and was the team's number one fan.
Emery, however, was on the sideline when the Golden Bears opened with a 28-24 victory over the Cadets. Everyone knew Donald Emery
would want his son to coach the game.
Western New England dropped a 19-13 decision at Massachusetts Maritime the following week without senior quarterback Bryce Brown
in the lineup.
The Golden Bears then established another school mark by winning nine games in a row.
Western New England played three of the biggest games in program history and won them all starting with a 40-37 victory over previously undefeated Endicott in the snow on October 29.
WNE capped a perfect season and placed first in the Boyd Division of the NEFC at 7-0 with a 28-18 road win against UMass Dartmouth on November 5.
Western New England then rallied from a 13-point deficit with four minutes remaining for a dramatic 20-13 overtime victory over Framingham State to win its first-ever NEFC Championship on November 12.
Emery's squad than made its inaugural appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship dropping a 62-24 decision at No. 13 Salisbury (MD) on November 19.
Western New England received votes for the first-time ever in the final regular season American Football Coaches Association (AFC) Division III poll and finished second behind Amherst in the New England Division III poll.
Emery, who also was named the Boyd Division Coach-of-the-Year, has a 39-32 record (54.9%) during his tenure at Western New England.
With Emery leading the way, the Golden Bears have won 24 of their last 28 contests beginning with five straight wins to close out the 2009 season at 6-4. Last year Western New England participated in its first-ever post-season contest, capturing the ECAC North Central Bowl game with a 66-41 win over Maine Maritime.