Sayville’s Jack Coan will have a large rooting section at Yankee Stadium Thursday when he starts at quarterback for the Wisconsin Badgers against Miami in the ninth Pinstripe Bowl.
Rob Hoss, Coan’s former coach at Sayville High School, said he and “pretty much everyone on [his coaching] staff," a number of former opposing coaches, and scads of Coan’s family and friends are busing to the Stadium to watch the sophomore — Newsday’s 2016 Hansen Award winner — lead the 7-5 Badgers’ offense.
“It’s a really big deal,” said Hoss, whose Golden Flashes won the 2015 Long Island Class III Championship with Coan under center. “A lot of people here haven’t had the opportunity to see him play in person at Wisconsin, so this is the best opportunity for people who can’t get out there.”
Coan, who has passed for 524 yards and four touchdowns in four games, made his first collegiate start on Oct. 27 at Northwestern, a 31-17 loss while subbing for the injured Alex Hornibrook. He came off the bench the next week against Rutgers in a 31-17 win and started games at Penn State and Purdue (a loss and a win). Had he skipped the Pinstripe Bowl, this season would have counted as a redshirt year for Coan under NCAA rules.
“He’s sacrificing a lot for himself for the good of the Wisconsin program by giving up his redshirt sophomore year and a year of eligibility,” Hoss said, “but I think it’s really telling about who Jack is.”
As part of the Pinstripe Bowl festivities, Wisconsin and Miami players visited the Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum and the One World Observatory on Christmas. Then on Wednesday, some players from both teams — Coan was not among them —participated in the New York Stock Exchange Opening Bell ceremonies.
Wisconsin and Miami followed much of the same dreary path that started in the warmth of the Orange Bowl and ends with a frigid thud at Yankee Stadium.
The Badgers and Hurricanes were AP Top 25 teams when they played last season in the Orange Bowl, a 34-24 victory for No. 6 Wisconsin in a game that seemed to serve as a preview for a better 2018 ahead for both programs.
But the Hurricanes (7-5) lost their season opener and dropped four straight in October-November to plummet from contention in the ACC. The Badgers never played like national championship contenders and their loss total topped the combined total (4) of 2016 and 2017. —With AP