University of Maine defensive coordinator Corey Hetherman (left), pictured with former Black Bears star Trevor Bates in 2016, has been named the FBS/FCS assistant coach of the year by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston. Credit: Courtesy of UMaine Athletics

ORONO, Maine — University of Maine defensive coordinator Corey Hetherman has been honored by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston as its FBS/FCS assistant coach of the year.

Hetherman, a fourth-year member of the Black Bears staff in his second season as coordinator, directed a defensive unit that was among the nation’s best.

UMaine ranked first in the Colonial Athletic Association in total defense (278.8 yards per game), rushing defense (73.4) and quarterback sacks (40). In the Football Championship Subdivision, the Black Bears are second rushing defense and sacks (3.64 per game), fourth in total defense and 11th in third-down conversion percentage defense (0.298).

During the 2018 season, UMaine’s “black hole” defense held nine of its 11 opponents under 100 yards rushing and forced 23 turnovers.

Individually in 2018, Hetherman mentored three Black Bears who rank second, third and fifth in the CAA in sacks and two of the top four individuals in terms of tackles for loss, along with Manny Patterson who leads the CAA in pass breakups.

Hetherman helped mentor five CAA all-conference performers, including linebackers Sterling Sheffield and Kayon Whitaker and cornerback Manny Patterson on the first team. Lineman Charles Mitchell and linebacker Deshawn Stevens were second-team picks.

Since 1999, Hetherman is the fourth Black Bear coach to earn the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston assistant coach of the year award. Joe Rossi earned the honor in 2011, and Bobby Wilder was the recipient in 2004.

The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston will hold its annual banquet on Dec. 19 at the Burlington Marriott Hotel in Massachusetts. It begins with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards program at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $75 each or $750 for a table of 10 and may be ordered online at GridClubofGreaterBoston.com or by calling Dick Lawrence at 781-929-3650.

Founded in 1932, the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston promotes football at all levels and promotes the ideals of citizenship, sportsmanship, leadership, and athletic and academic achievement.