If Stony Brook's Seawolves hope to win a third straight Big South title or advance to the FCS playoffs for the first time this season, they will have to do it without senior quarterback Michael Coulter. Coach Chuck Priore announced Thursday that Coulter will undergo season-ending knee surgery, likely next week.
Coulter suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during a workout in June. He sat out most of preseason workouts while rehabilitating and was cleared to start the season by doctors and the athletic training staff. He played the first two games at UTEP and Buffalo but reinjured the knee in practice.
Although Coulter started the next two games against Brown and Lafayette and even ran the ball, his knee is too unstable when he plants his left foot to pass. After completing only one of nine passes in a win over Lafayette and making some uncharacteristic throws into the ground, Coulter realized his only choice was surgery.
"He came to me on Tuesday and said he didn't think he could do it anymore," a saddened Priore said. "He admitted it was bothering him more than he let on. He was very analytical about it. He knew it was affecting his performance.
"In 29 football seasons of coaching, Michael Coulter is the most unselfish player I've ever been around. He's been the consummate team leader on and off the field. My respect for Michael as a human being outweighs my respect for him as a player."
Coulter will not appeal to the NCAA for another year of eligibility, ending his Stony Brook career after 26 games. He totaled 4,218 yards passing with 32 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. Kyle Essington assumes the starting job and will be backed up by junior Lyle Negron.
In 2010, Coulter was the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a recipient of the Outstanding College Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Suffolk County Chapter. A biochemistry major with a 3.7 GPA, Coulter expects to graduate in December and to attend medical school.