Jan. 25, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Linebacker Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.) has been elected captain of the 2008 Yale football team by a player vote taken Friday morning at Ray Tompkins House.
Abare helped the Bulldogs to a 17-3 record over the past two seasons, including a 12-2 Ivy League mark and the 2006 Ivy title. He was named honorable mention All-America last year after leading the team in tackles (86) for the second straight season. The Bulldogs were No. 1 in the Football Championship Subdivision in scoring defense, allowing only 13.7 points per game.
"There are a lot of leaders in our class, and it is a privilege to be elected from among them," said Abare. "I can't overstate how much of a privilege it is and how much I am looking forward to leading this team."
Abare is a leader by example who, along with racking up 178 tackles for his career, has 18.5 tackles for loss, four fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and six interceptions - including two that he returned for touchdowns in 2006.
"I think my actions speak for me, and I get my point across when I have to be verbal and honest," Abare said.
Abare was named first team All-Ivy and All-New England for the second time this past season. He has three varsity letters and has been making an impact ever since his freshman year, when he shared Yale's special teams player of the year award with his fraternal twin brother, Larry (a defensive back).
After Larry missed the final eight games of the 2007 season with an injury, the brothers will be reunited on the field in 2008.
"It's great to know that Larry's going to be back," Bobby said. "I talked to him right after [the election], and he knows he's going to be a big leader of this team also. He was a leader last year on the sideline, but being on the field is where he likes to lead the most."
Abare has the challenging task of taking over a team that achieved the school's first 9-0 record since 1960 last year only to fall to Harvard in the season finale, losing a perfect season and the Ivy League title all at once.
"I've tried to put last year behind, and just take a day-in, day-out approach," Abare said. "It was really tough to get to where we were [at 9-0]. The only way we did that was taking things one day at a time. This year, we're going to have to work even harder. You can't really think `Can we get back there?'. It's got to be `Today when I wake up, how hard am I going to go? How hard am I going to train? Am I ready to exert myself just in that one day, and the next day do the same thing?'."
A political science major and member of Jonathan Edwards college, Abare is the first Massachusetts native named Yale captain since Dorchester's John Smoot '76 led the 1975 team to a 7-2 record. Abare captained three sports at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, where he and his brother helped the football team to a state record 50 straight wins along with four league and state titles. Abare, who set the school rushing yardage record while also playing linebacker, played baseball and basketball when he was not on the gridiron.
The last linebacker to captain the Bulldogs was Peter Mazza '01, whose 2000 squad went 7-3. Jack Siedlecki, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football, sees similarities between the two players.
"I compare Bobby to Peter Mazza," Siedlecki said. "Peter was an impact player right away. [Even as a freshman] he acted like an upperclassman and was treated like an upperclassman. Bobby was the same way. There was no `feeling his way' as a freshman. You just knew he was a different guy."
Siedlecki noticed those qualities in both Bobby and Larry back when they were just recruits, playing for long-time Acton-Boxborough coach Bill Maver.
"Their whole story as high school players -- starting as freshmen, losing their first game and then winning 50 games in a row -- you had the impression they were more than good football players," Siedlecki said. "They were kids who were going to influence your football team in more ways than just going out there and playing. That definitely has proven true with both of them."
The Abares' father, Lou, and mother, Suzanne Larkin, are both UConn graduates. Lou played football for the Huskies.
Abare leads Yale into its 136th season of football. He will be formally introduced as captain at the annual Yale football team banquet Saturday night. The 2008 season opener is set for Sept. 20 against Georgetown at the Yale Bowl, Class of 1954 Field.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity