The University of New England’s search for a head coach for its fledgling NCAA Division III football program has attracted a lot of interest. And school officials are about to start whittling down the candidates.

Jack McDonald, UNE’s athletic director, said the school will start doing phone interviews soon, hoping to announce a head coach in mid-January. He added the position – for a team that doesn’t even exist yet – has attracted more than 200 applicants.

“And the last three weeks, the quality of the applicants has been impressive,” he said, noting many applicants waited until their seasons were completed before contacting UNE. “We’ve narrowed down the list to a good dozen or so. We’ll have phone interviews before the holidays and hopefully have the finalists on campus in January.”

UNE announced plans to add football last December. The Nor’easters will play a sub-varsity schedule in 2017, then join the Commonwealth Coast Conference as a varsity program in 2018. UNE’s first varsity game will be on Aug. 30, 2018, against Coast Guard at New London, Connecticut.

The search committee is chaired by Dennis Leighton, the faculty athletics representative at UNE.

This position has attracted applicants from all levels, including high schools, and geographic regions. McDonald stressed that college experience will be a factor in the hiring.

“We would definitely prefer it,” he said. “I’ll go even further and say we’d prefer successful experience at the college level. Knowing NCAA compliance issues is important. You’re not only coaching the game but need to know all the NCAA regulations that go into it. That’s an important piece.”

McDonald realizes there are those who would like to see a Maine native get the position.

“I know there are a lot of great coaches in Maine, at the high school level and the college level,” he said.

“We are going to hire the best possible person we can.”

McDonald added that the school has a lot to do to get the program going, including the construction of bleachers at its blue turf playing field, and locker rooms.

“There’s a lot of good stuff happening here right now,” he said.

BASKETBALL

• Bentley University senior forward Tyler McFarland of Rockport (Camden Hills) was named the Northeast-10 men’s player of the week. McFarland scored 26 points in back-to-back games to lead the Falcons to wins over Saint Anselm College and Southern New Hampshire University. He also averaged 5.5 rebounds, two blocks and an assist in those games. McFarland is averaging 24.9 points through eight games.

 St. Joseph’s freshman guard Kelsi McNamara of West Newbury, Massachusetts, has been named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference women’s rookie of the week for the third consecutive week. She averaged 14 points, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals in two games for the Monks.

Bentley freshman forward Victoria Lux of Arundel (Thornton Academy) scored a career-high 12 points in a 60-46 victory over Saint Anselm. She is averaging 5.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the 7-2 Falcons.

Colby-Sawyer freshman Milani Hicks of Scarborough was named the North Atlantic Conference men’s rookie of the week for the second time this season. Hicks averaged 10.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in two games for the Chargers.

FIELD HOCKEY

Bowdoin College senior forward Rachel Kennedy of Trumbull, Connecticut, was named the 2015 NCAA Division III Player of the Year by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. A two-time first team All-American and two-time New England Small College Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Kennedy had 35 goals and six assists. She became Bowdoin’s career leader in goals (103) and points (226) this fall.

FOOTBALL

Maine Maritime Academy senior defensive lineman Michael Burgess of North Yarmouth (Greely) was named to the D3football.com All-East Region first team defense at the special teams utility position. Burgess blocked five kicks last season for MMA, including three in one game. He finished his career with a school-record 15 blocks. He also averaged 36.8 yards on 39 punts.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute senior wide receiver Logan Gaddar of South Portland was named to the Liberty League first team. He led the Engineers with 54 catches for 772 yards and eight touchdowns. RPI finished 9-2.

ICE HOCKEY

University of Southern Maine freshman goalie Britney Evangelista of North Smithfield, Rhode Island, was named New England Hockey Conference rookie of the week after stopping 22 shots in a 3-0 shutout of Endicott. Evangelista has a 2-1-1 record, 1.65 goals- against average and a .942 save percentage for the Huskies (2-5-1).

SKIING

Freshman Caitlin Holmquist of Gray (Gray-New Gloucester) is a member of the Nordic ski team at Saint Michael’s University in Colchester, Vermont.

TRACK AND FIELD

USM freshmen Justin Gagnon of Biddeford and Drew Gamage of Sabattus (Oak Hill) swept Little East Conference rookie of the week honors. Gagnon was named rookie track athlete of the week after winning the 55-meter hurdles in 8.05 seconds and running the second leg of the winning 800 relay team in the USM Invitational. Gamage was the rookie field athlete of the week after winning the triple jump (44 feet, 11/2 inches) and finishing third in the high jump.

USM senior Sabrina Sodders of Alstead, New Hampshire, was named LEC field athlete of the week for her performance in last week’s USM Invitational. She won the shot put with a throw of 41 feet, 1/2 inch and was third in the weight throw.

Bentley sophomore Ryan Cadorette of Saco (Thornton Academy) finished third in the 5,000 meters at the recent UMass-Boston Indoor Invitational at the Reggie Lewis Center. His time was 15:16.14, best among collegians.