UMass Minutemen football

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UMass Minutemen
2016 UMass Minutemen football team
Umass textlogo.png
First season November 22, 1879
Athletic director Ryan Bamford
Head coach Mark Whipple
9th year, 56–51 (.523)
Other staff Mike Cassano (OC)
Tom Masella (DC)
Stadiums Gillette Stadium/
Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium
Seating capacity 68,756/
Field surface FieldTurf
Location Foxborough, Massachusetts/
Hadley, Massachusetts
NCAA division Division I FBS
Conference Independent
Division NCAA Division I-A independent schools
All-time record 561–557–51 (.502)
Bowl record 1–1 (.500)
Claimed nat'l titles 1 (FCS)
Conference titles 22 (non-FBS)
Colors Maroon and White[1]
Fight song Fight Mass
Mascot Sam the Minuteman
Marching band UMass Marching Band
Rivals New Hampshire Wildcats (FCS)
Maine Black Bears (FCS)
Rhode Island Rams (FCS)
Boston College Eagles
Connecticut Huskies
Website UMass Football

The UMass Minutemen football team is a collegiate football team representing the University of Massachusetts in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The Minutemen currently compete as an Independent.

UMass began play in 1879[2] and have since appeared in three FCS National Championship games, winning the title in 1998. The Minutemen began a two-year Football Bowl Subdivision transition period in 2011, becoming bowl eligible in 2013. In March 2014, the MAC and UMass announced an agreement for the Minutemen to leave the conference after the 2015 season due to UMass declining an offer to become a full member of the conference. In the agreement between the MAC and the university, there was a contractual clause that had UMass playing in the MAC as a football-only member for two more seasons if UMass declined a full membership offer. UMass announced that it would look for a "more suitable conference" for the team.[3] Possibilities included going independent[4] or joining the American Athletic Conference,[4] Conference USA,[4] or the Sun Belt Conference.[5] In September 2014, UMass announced that they will be going independent in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.[6][7] Mark Whipple is the head football coach.[8]

Team history[edit]

Early years[edit]

UMass began playing football on November 22, 1879, when the school was known as Massachusetts Agricultural College, and the team was known as the "Aggies." They were first organized the previous fall by Francis Codman, but did not play their first game until November 22, 1879, defeating the Amherst College freshman team 4–0. As this was their only game that year, 1879 is noted as their first undefeated season, matched only by the 1889 season (2–0) and the 1963 season (8–0–1). Massachusetts later teamed up with Storrs Agricultural College (now the University of Connecticut) and Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now the University of Rhode Island) to form the Athletic League of New England State Colleges for the purpose of scheduling football matchups between the schools. The first meeting between the Aggies and each of the other schools resulted in a shutout win for Massachusetts, as they defeated Connecticut, 36–0, in 1897 and Rhode Island, 46–0, in 1903. Massachusetts won their 100th game on October 2, 1920, topping rival Connecticut in a 28–0 shutout. The team played their 1000th game on November 11, 2000, losing to conference foe Delaware, 19-31.

Program evolution[edit]

The team's nickname has endured several changes throughout the years. Though the official nickname remained "Aggies", "Statesmen" was also used interchangeably beginning when the school was renamed to Massachusetts State College in 1931. The nickname was officially changed to the "Redmen" when the name of the college became the University of Massachusetts in 1947. In a response to changing attitudes regarding the use of Native American-themed mascots, they changed their mascot in 1972 to the Minuteman, based on the historical "minuteman" relationship with Massachusetts; women's teams and athletes are known as Minutewomen.

UMass has enjoyed various levels of success over the years. As a founding member of the Yankee Conference, Massachusetts won 17 Yankee Conference Championships, appearing in one National Championship game during that timespan. They fell to Florida A&M in this inaugural Division 1-AA Championship, 35–28. UMass' success continued as they began competition in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 1997. They went on to win four more conference titles while playing in the A-10 and make two more appearances in the National Championship game, winning it all in 1998. In 2006 the Minutemen took home the last A-10 title (the A-10 handed off management of their football league to the Colonial Athletic Association after the season) and made their most recent Championship game appearance. Their most recent conference championship came in 2007, the inaugural season under the CAA name.

Transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision[edit]

On April 20, 2011, after decades of studies and speculation, the UMass Minutemen formally announced they elevated their football program to the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and became a member of the Mid-American Conference beginning with the 2012 season. The announcement was made at Gillette Stadium, where the Minutemen currently play their home games. In 2011, UMass completed their last season in the Colonial Athletic Association, and were not eligible for NCAA postseason play.[9] UMass plays a full FBS and MAC schedule in 2013 and became eligible for the MAC championship and bowl participation.

The NCAA made a formal announcement of UMass' admission to FBS in the summer of 2013 after the program met specified benchmarks over its two transitioning years. The primary criteria centered around average attendance, an increase in scholarships from 63 to 85, and specific scheduling requirements. The NCAA did announce that the team must meet attendance requirements or face a 10-year probationary period.[10] Along with joining the Mid-American Conference the men's and women's basketball teams will play four non conference games against MAC teams.[11] In March 2014, the MAC and UMass announced an agreement for the Minutemen to leave the conference after the 2015 season due to UMass declining an offer to become a full member of the conference. In the agreement between the MAC and the university, there was a contractual clause that had UMass playing in the MAC as a football-only member for two more seasons if UMass declined a full membership offer. UMass announced that it would look for a "more suitable conference" for the team.[3]

Postseason appearances[edit]

Division II playoffs[edit]

Season Date Round Opponent Result Location
1977 November 26 Quarterfinal Lehigh L 23–30 Amherst, Massachusetts

Division I-AA playoffs[edit]

Season Date Round Opponent Result Location
1978 December 9 Semifinal Nevada W 44–21 Reno, Nevada
December 16 Championship Florida A&M L 28–35 Wichita Falls, Texas
1988 November 26 First Round Eastern Kentucky L 17–28 Richmond, Kentucky
1990 November 24 First Round William & Mary L 0–38 Williamsburg, Virginia
1998 November 28 First Round McNeese State W 21–19 Lake Charles, Louisiana
December 5 Quarterfinal Lehigh W 27–21 Amherst, Massachusetts
December 12 Semifinal Northwestern State W 41–31 Natchitoches, Louisiana
December 19 Championship Georgia Southern W 55–43 Chattanooga, Tennessee
1999 November 27 First Round Furman W 30–23 OT Greenville, South Carolina
December 4 Quarterfinal Georgia Southern L 21–38 Statesboro, Georgia
2003 November 29 First Round Colgate L 7–19 Hamilton, New York
2006 November 25 First Round Lafayette W 35–14 Amherst, Massachusetts
December 2 Quarterfinal New Hampshire W 24–17 Amherst, Massachusetts
December 12 Semifinal Montana W 19–17 Missoula, Montana
December 15 Championship Appalachian State L 17–28 Chattanooga, Tennessee
2007 November 24 First Round Fordham W 49–35 Amherst, Massachusetts
December 1 Quarterfinal Southern Illinois L 27–34 Carbondale, Illinois

Bowl games[edit]

Season Date Bowl Game Opponent Result Location
1964 December 12 Tangerine Bowl East Carolina L 13–14 Orlando, Florida
1972 December 9 Boardwalk Bowl UC Davis W 35–14 Atlantic City, New Jersey

Conference championships[edit]

UMass has won a total of 22 conference championships. Following is a list of the years, affiliations, and records for those Championship seasons.

Conference affiliations:

Season Conference Overall Record Conference Record
1960* Yankee Conference 7–2 3–1
1963 Yankee Conference 8–0–1 5–0
1964 Yankee Conference 8–2 5–0
1966 Yankee Conference 6–3 5–0
1967 Yankee Conference 7–2 5–0
1969 Yankee Conference 6–3 5–0
1971* Yankee Conference 4–4–1 3–1–1
1972 Yankee Conference 9–2 5–0
1974* Yankee Conference 5–6 4–2
1977 Yankee Conference 8–3 5–0
1978 Yankee Conference 9–4 5–0
1979* Yankee Conference 6–4 4–1
1981* Yankee Conference 6–3 4–1
1982* Yankee Conference 5–6 3–2
1986* Yankee Conference 8–3 5–2
1988* Yankee Conference 8–4 6–2
1990 Yankee Conference 8–2–1 7–1
1998* Atlantic 10 Conference 12–3 6–2
1999* Atlantic 10 Conference 9–4 7–1
2003* Atlantic 10 Conference 10–3 8–1
2006 Atlantic 10 Conference 13–2 8–0
2007* Colonial Athletic Association 10–3 7–1
* Denotes co-champions


Alumni Field[edit]

The first field that the Minutemen played at was called Alumni Field, and was situated on the south end of campus. This field was replaced in 1915 by a new venue, also called Alumni Field. It was replaced in 1965 by Alumni Stadium, and later became the location of the Whitmore Administration Building.

McGuirk Alumni Stadium[edit]

The Minutemen played their last home football game for three years at McGuirk Alumni Stadium, a 17,000 seat stadium on the UMass Amherst campus in 2011. The stadium itself sits just over the town line in neighboring Hadley, Massachusetts. The inaugural game took place on September 25, 1965 when UMass defeated the AIC Yellow Jackets, 41–0. Since the opening, UMass has enjoyed a decided home field advantage, posting a 182–79–2 record when playing at McGuirk. The attendance record at McGuirk was set during a UMass football game against Boston College on November 25, 1972; 20,000 fans were in attendance. McGuirk was partially renovated McGuirk for a return of UMass football. The expansion included a new performance center with new locker rooms and training facilities, and a new press box.[12] In the 2012 and 2013 seasons UMass played all their home games at Gillette Stadium, but they returned to McGuirk beginning with three games in 2014.[13] Both venues will be used for home games moving forward.

Gillette Stadium[edit]

Main article: Gillette Stadium

UMass first played at Gillette Stadium in the "Colonial Clash" against the University of New Hampshire on October 23, 2010. This game was renewed for the 2011 season as UMass played New Hampshire there again. Beginning in 2012 Gillette Stadium is the home of the UMass Minutemen football team continuing through at least 2013. After that, UMass will play a minimum of four home games at Gillette Stadium through the 2016 season. Following that five-year agreement, there will be an option for additional home games to be played at Gillette.[14]

Coaching history[edit]

Years Coach Games W L T Pct.
1879–1897 No coach 94 30 58 6 .351
1898 Doctor Weeks 6 1 4 1 .250
1899–1900 Fred Murphy Brown 20 12 8 0 .600
1901–1903 James Halligan 26 16 8 2 .653
1904, 1907–1908 Matthew Bullock 26 13 8 5 .596
1905 Walter Craig 10 3 7 0 .300
1906 George E. O'Hearn 9 1 7 1 .167
1909 J. W. Gage 9 1 6 2 .222
1910 Willard Gildersleeve 9 1 6 2 .222
1911 Jack Hubbard 9 2 7 0 .222
1912–1915 Arthur Brides 31 12 15 4 .452
1916 George Melican 8 2 4 2 .375
1919–1927 Harold Gore 70 33 32 5 .507
1928–1930 Charles McGeoch 25 6 17 2 .280
1931–1935 Mel Taube 44 29 13 2 .682
1936–1940 Elbert Carraway 44 9 32 3 .239
1941–1942, 1946 Walter Hargesheimer 23 11 11 1 .500
1945, 1947–1951 Thomas Eck 44 17 23 4 .432
1952–1959 Charlie O'Rourke 64 21 39 4 .359
1960 Chuck Studley 9 7 2 0 .778
1961–1970 Vic Fusia 93 59 32 2 .645
1971–1977 Dick MacPherson 73 45 27 1 .623
1978–1983 Bob Pickett 64 36 28 0 .563
1984–1985 Bob Stull 22 10 12 0 .455
1986–1991 Jim Reid 67 36 29 2 .552
1992–1997 Mike Hodges 65 35 30 0 .538
1998–2003 Mark Whipple 75 49 26 0 .629
2004–2008 Don Brown 62 43 19 0 .693
2009–2011 Kevin Morris 33 16 17 0 .485
2012–2013 Charley Molnar 24 2 22 0 .083
2014–Present Mark Whipple 32 7 25 0 .280
1879–present Totals 1169 561 557 51 .502

Notable alumni[edit]

NFL All-Pros and Pro Bowlers[edit]

Player All-Pro Pro Bowl
Milt Morin none 1968, 1971
Greg Landry none 1971
Victor Cruz 2011 2012

Current NFL players[edit]

Player Position Team Grad. Yr
Rob Blanchflower Tight end Free Agent 2013
Emil Igwenagu Tight end Indianapolis Colts 2011
Michael Cox Running back Free Agent 2012
Victor Cruz Wide receiver New York Giants 2009
Vladimir Ducasse Offensive guard Baltimore Ravens 2009
James Ihedigbo Safety Free Agent 2006
Jeromy Miles Safety Free Agent 2009
Tajae Sharpe Wide receiver Tennessee Titans 2016
Jean Sifrin Tight end Free Agent
Julian Talley Wide receiver Free Agent 2011

Individual awards[edit]

UMass has had more than 70 players named to various All-American teams since Lou Bush garnered the first selection for the Minutemen (then called the Aggies) in the early 1930s.

Conference honors[edit]

The following is a list of all Minutemen who were named Player, Coach, or Rookie of the Year for their respective conference.

Year Name Position Award
1985 Dave Palazzi QB Rookie of the Year
1988 Tim Bryant QB Rookie of the Year
1988 John McKeown LB Defensive Player of the Year
1988 Jim Reid HC Coach of the Year
1990 Gary Wilkos QB Offensive Player of the Year
1990 John Johnson RB Rookie of the Year
1990 Jim Reid HC Coach of the Year
1992 Rene Ingoglia RB Rookie of the Year
1994 Brian Corcoran DL Defensive Player of the Year
1998 Khari Samuel LB Defensive Player of the Year
1999 Adrian Zullo WR Rookie of the Year
2002 R.J. Cobbs RB Rookie of the Year
2003 Mark Whipple HC Coach of the Year
2004 Shannon James DB Defensive Player of the Year
2005 Christian Koegel P Special Teams Player of the Year
2006 Steve Baylark RB Offensive Player of the Year
2006 Don Brown HC Coach of the Year

College Football Hall of Fame[edit]

The following is a list of all Minutemen inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Year Inducted Name Position Years at UMass
2009 Dick MacPherson HC 1971–1977
2010 Milt Morin TE 1963–1965

Future opponents[edit]

Announced schedules as of April 20, 2016

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
at Coastal Carolina at Boston College at Charlotte at Mississippi State at Colorado at Tulane at Indiana
vs Old Dominion at Georgia Southern at Army vs Army at Army vs Army
at Temple at Florida International at Louisiana Tech at Appalachian State vs Boston College at Boston College
at Mississippi State vs Charlotte vs BYU at UConn vs UConn
vs Ohio at Ohio vs Maine
vs Hawaii vs Troy at FIU
vs Georgia Southern vs BYU vs UConn
vs Appalachian State vs USF
at Tennessee at UConn
vs Maine vs Coastal Carolina
at USF at Georgia
at BYU


Logo & Uniform History[edit]


External links[edit]