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Massachusetts Minutemen
Massachusetts Minutemen athletic logo

University University of Massachusetts Amherst
Conference A-10
Location Amherst, MA
Head coach Derek Kellogg (1st year)
Arena Mullins Center
(Capacity: 9,493)
Nickname Minutemen
Colors Maroon and White

             

Uniforms
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Home jersey
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Team colours
Home
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Away jersey
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Team colours
Away
NCAA Tournament Final Four
1996*
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1995
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1992
NCAA Tournament second round
1993, 1994
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, who currently compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference, last played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 1998. The head coach of the UMass Minutemen men's basketball team is Derek Kellogg.

Contents

History

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.[1] 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. The 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 5 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.

Rivalries

Massachusetts and the Rhode Island Rams play annually.

Massachusetts and Boston College play for the Commonwealth Cup, in the "Commonwealth Classic".

Until recently, Massachusetts and Connecticut played in the "U-Game," a reference to the two schools' nicknames, UMass and UConn, respectively. The last "U-Game" was played in 2005, in which UConn won.

Coaches

Though not a nationally recognized name, the program's winningest coach was Jack Leaman.[1] 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.[2]

Perhaps the school's most recognizable coach was John Calipari. At UMass, Calipari took a team previously in a NCAA drought to its first NCAA tournament in 30 years, in 1992. In the next few seasons, Calipari would take the team to new heights, like the Sweet Sixteen (1992) and the Elite Eight (1995), as well as No. 1 rankings in the AP weekly poll. In 1996, a rare trip to the Final Four and third place was achieved by the Minutemen for the first time. After the 1996 season, Calipari left the team to coach the NBA team, the New Jersey Nets.

After Calipari resigned in 1996, his associate Bruiser Flint coached from 1996-2001, and Steve Lappas coached from 2001-05.

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.

On April 23, 2008, former Minutemen player Derek Kellogg returned to Amherst and became the 21st coach of the program. Kellogg's assistant coaches are Adam Ginsburg, Antwon Jackson, and Vance Walberg.

NCAA Tournament Results

The Minutemen have appeared in 8 NCAA Tournaments. Their combined record is 11-8.

Year Result
1962 First Round
1992 Sweet Sixteen
1993 Second Round
1994 Second Round
1995 Elite Eight
1996 Final Four*
1997 First Round
1998 First Round

*vacated by NCAA

Minutemen in the NBA

Several Massachusetts alumni have gone on to play in the NBA, such as:

One more former UMass hoops star was George "Trigger" Burke, for whom the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame is named.

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Retired Jerseys

See also

References

  1. ^ http://umassathletics.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/umas-100-years.html

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