UMass Minutemen basketball
|UMass Minutemen basketball|
|University||University of Massachusetts Amherst|
|Head coach||Derek Kellogg  (6th year)|
Maroon and White
|NCAA Tournament Final Four|
|NCAA Tournament Elite Eight|
|NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen|
|1992, 1995, 1996*|
|NCAA Tournament appearances|
|1962, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996*, 1997, 1998
*vacated by NCAA
|Conference tournament champions|
|1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996|
|Conference regular season champions|
|1962, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2007|
The UMass Minutemen basketball team, also known as the Massachusetts Minutemen, represents the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts, in NCAA Division I men's competition. (UMass women's teams and athletes are known as Minutewomen.) The Minutemen currently compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference. They last played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 1998. The head coach of the Minutemen is Derek Kellogg.
The men's basketball program has a history of over 100 years. The Minutemen, as they have been called since 1972, celebrated their 100th season in 2008-09. Though the program's first game was played on January 10, 1900, there were several years in which no team was assembled.
The program's first coach was Harold M. Gore, who in 11 seasons compiled a record of 85-53 (.616 win percentage), highlighted by a 12-2 season in 1925-26. In 1933-34, Massachusetts was the only undefeated team in men's college basketball, going 12-0. For the 1948-49 season, Massachusetts joined the Yankee Conference to mark the first time they participated in conference play. U of M would go on to be 10-time champions of the Yankee Conference.
The 1960s and 70s were prosperous for the program. The 1961-62 team went 15-9 and participated in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. They would go on to win 4 Yankee Conference titles in the '60s, and played in the NIT at the end of the 1969-70 season. The program compiled a record of 142-103 (.580) in the '60s. The 1969-70 team featured Julius Erving. In his first game with the varsity team, a 90-85 win over Providence College, Erving scored 27 points and grabbed 28 rebounds.
In the first eight seasons of the '70s, the Redmen/Minutemen compiled a record of 152-65 (.700). They won 5 Yankee Conference titles, and played in 5 NITs. The early '70s teams featured players such as Erving, Al Skinner, and Rick Pitino. Jack Leaman, who coached the team for 13 seasons, hung it up after the 1978-79 season, with a record of 217-126 (.632).
The Minutemen fell on hard times in the late 70s and 80s, but would rebound under the direction of rookie coach John Calipari, who took the head coaching job in 1988.
The 1990s were the defining decade for UMass basketball. Calipari helped the Minutemen become A-10 Tournament Champs five consecutive times (1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96), and appeared in the NCAA Tournament seven times, including two appearances in the Elite Eight (1995, 1996) and a Final Four appearance (1996) that resulted in third place, the highest ever for the Minutemen. (Note, however, that NCAA sanctions stripped the Minutemen of their 1996 NCAA Tournament victories.) In the 1990s, the Minutemen were frequently ranked first in the Associated Press season polls.
Since 1998, the Minutemen have slipped out of the national spotlight, not returning to the NCAA Tournament since. The most successful seasons were in 2006-07, when the Minutemen shared the A-10 Regular Season championship with Xavier, and advanced to the second round of the NIT. In 2007-08, the Minutemen advanced to the 2008 NIT championship game, where they lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes 92-85. In 2012 the Minutemen reappeared in the NIT tournament after a successful season with a 22-11 record.
Though not a nationally recognized name, the program's coach with the most wins was Jack Leaman. Leaman guided Massachusetts to 217 wins, and coached players including Julius Erving, Al Skinner, and Rick Pitino. Though Leaman's last season as coach of the men's team was 1978-79, he remained a key part of the UMass Athletic Department until he died in 2004.
Perhaps the school's most recognizable coach was John Calipari. In 1988, the rookie head coach took over a program that was on a streak of 10-straight losing seasons and had not been to the NCAA tournament since 1962. Calipari led UMass to the NIT in his second season as head coach. In his fourth season, UMass won the A-10 regular season and tournament championships. Over the next few seasons, Calipari would take the team to new heights: the Sweet Sixteen (1992), the Elite Eight (1995), and frequent #1 rankings in the AP weekly poll. In 1996, the Minutemen reached the Final Four for the first time. After the 1995-96 season, Calipari left UMass for the NBA as the new head coach of the New Jersey Nets.
In 2005, Travis Ford replaced Lappas. Though the Minutemen struggled with a 13-15 record in Ford's first season of 2005-06, he quickly improved the team in the next two seasons. In 2006-07, the Minutemen were co-champions of the Atlantic 10 (along with Xavier), reached the second round of the NIT, and finished with a record of 24-9. In 2007-08, the Minutemen reached the NIT championship game, and finished with a record of 25-11. Following the 2007-08 season, his third with the Minutemen, he left to take the head coaching vacancy at Oklahoma State.
Through 2009, Massachusetts and the Rhode Island Rams have played over 130 times and at least once a year every year since 1950. The Atlantic 10 regularly pairs UMass and URI in a home-and-home series each season.
Starting in 1995, Massachusetts and Boston College played annually for the Commonwealth Cup, in the "Commonwealth Classic". Following the 2011-2012 season (in which UMass defeated the Eagles 82-46 in Chestnut Hill), Boston College abruptly terminated the series and canceled their return trip to Amherst in late 2012.
UMass and Temple had an intense rivalry in the 1990s, during which time the schools were coached by John Calipari and John Chaney. The two coaches had to be restrained from each other during a 3-overtime game in 1990. After a game in 1994, Chaney charged at Calipari during a post-game press conference, and in front of reporters and television cameras, threatened to kill Calipari.
From 1996-2005, Massachusetts and Connecticut played in the "Mass Mutual U-Game," a reference to the two schools' nicknames, UMass and UConn, respectively. UConn won nine of the ten games. UMass won the 2004 game, in which the Huskies were the defending national champions.
NCAA Tournament Results
The Minutemen have appeared in 8 NCAA Tournaments. Their combined record is 11-8.
*vacated by NCAA
Several Massachusetts alumni have gone on to play in the NBA:
Five former players have had their jersey numbers retired.
|UMass Minutemen retired numbers|
|21||Marcus Camby ||C||1993-96|
UMass Athletic Hall of Fame
Many former members of the basketball program have been elected into the school's Hall of Fame. Class years listed in parentheses.
The Hall is officially named "The George "Trigger" Burke UMass Athletic Hall of Fame" in recognition of Burke's generous support of UMass Athletics and student scholarships.
- "Derek Kellogg Staff Biography". University of Massachusetts Amherst. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "Welcome Home! Derek Kellogg '95 Named UMass Basketball Coach". UMass Athletics. 23 April 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- Moran, Malcolm (14 February 1994). "COLLEGE BASKETBALL; Chaney Lambastes UMass's Calipari". The New York Times.
- UMass' retired numbers at UMass Athletics website
- "UMass basketball will retire Marcus Camby's No. 21 jersey", MassLive.com, 13 November 2012
- "Marcus Camby's No. 21 retired at UMass ceremony", GazetteNet.com