Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Walking a Fine Line Good Fortune Guided Maser

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Walking a Fine Line Good Fortune Guided Maser

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino, Times-Union sports writer

Mike Maser had a sideline look at one of the most dramatic plays in college football history back in 1984.

The Jaguars' offensive line coach had the same job for Boston College when Doug Flutie threw the celebrated 48-yard touchdown pass to Gerard Phelan on the final play to beat Miami 47-45.

Maser remembers it as if it were yesterday.

"It still brings goose bumps to the back of my neck to think about that whole deal," Maser said.

Fearing the team was going to suffer a disheartening loss, Maser was thinking about what he was going to tell his linemen when Flutie started to scramble on the final play. His eyes were then riveted to the field when Flutie threw the last pass.

"If you see a replay of the game, one of the big linemen picked Flutie up and he's got him up in the air and if they run the highlight long enough, you'll see me come into the picture yelling, 'Don't drop him.' That's how I spent the end of the game, making sure one of my dumb guards didn't drop the golden child," he said.

Maser still gets calls from friends when the game is shown on ESPN Classic.

"They'll say, 'John, it's on.' I'll turn it on and sure enough, I'll watch it and see all the guys and be nostalgic for that situation. It was a great moment in college sports and I was fortunate to be a part of it."

How Maser wound up on that sideline is almost as improbable as Flutie's pass.

"I've always been in the right spot at the right time. Life is a matter of luck," he said. Maser was making $16,000 a year as a coach at Bluefield State College when Jim McNally, now the offensive line coach with the New York Giants, suggested he take a week off and work at a football camp in the summer of 1979 at Fairfield, Conn.

That camp changed Maser's career.

He met Paul Boudreau, now the offensive line coach for the Carolina Panthers. Boudreau was in the process of leaving Maine for Dartmouth and

suggested that Maser contact Jack Bicknell, Maine's coach, about getting his old job.

Bicknell wound up offering him the job. The only problem was the salary was $14,000, a $2,000 pay cut from Bluefield State.

Maser accepted the job because it was a move up the ladder and it was strictly football. He didn't have to teach as he did at Bluefield State.

Even Maser's wife advised him to take the pay cut.

"She knew I was unhappy and she said, 'You've got to try this, this is what you want,' " he said. "Anyway, I go to Maine for a $2,000 pay cut, it cost me $2,000 to move and I had to borrow $5,000 from my mother to buy a house. I was $9,000 in the hole before I walked in the door."

But he loved coaching at Maine, and two years later he went to Boston College with Bicknell in 1981. He wound up staying until 1994, when Tom Coughlin, who retained Maser when he replaced Bicknell in 1991, hired him in Jacksonville. …

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