UMass Minutemen football
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|UMass Minutemen football|
|Athletic director||Ryan Bamford|
|Head coach||Walt Bell |
1st season, 1–9 (.100)
|Stadium||Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium|
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|All-time record||570–586–50 (.493)|
|Bowl record||1–1 (.500)|
|Claimed nat'l titles||1 (Div. I FCS): 1998|
|Conference titles||22 (non-FBS)|
|Rivalries||Boston College (rivalry)|
|Colors||Maroon and White|
|Fight song||Fight Mass|
|Mascot||Sam the Minuteman|
|Marching band||The Power and Class of New England|
The UMass Minutemen football team represents the University of Massachusetts in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. Massachusetts is the fourth oldest program currently in FBS. The Minutemen currently compete as an Independent.
UMass began play in 1879 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 Mid-American Conference 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. Possibilities included going independent or joining the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, or the Sun Belt Conference. In September 2014, UMass announced that they would be going independent beginning with the 2016-2017 season. The Minutemen continued playing as an independent in 2017 and 2018. They have already set their entire 12-game schedule for both 2019 and 2020, and most of their 2021 schedule is also set. Unless the school totally reworks the schedule and cancels many already-scheduled games, the UMass program will have to continue as an FBS independent until at least 2022.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Early history (1879–1977)
- 1.2 Bob Pickett era (1978–1983)
- 1.3 Bob Stull era (1984–1985)
- 1.4 Jim Reid era (1986–1991)
- 1.5 Mike Hodges era (1992–1997)
- 1.6 Mark Whipple era (1998–2003)
- 1.7 Don Brown era (2004–2008)
- 1.8 Kevin Morris era (2009–2011)
- 1.9 Charlie Molnar era (2012–2013)
- 1.10 Whipple's return (2014–2018)
- 1.11 Walt Bell era (2019–present)
- 2 Conference affiliations
- 3 Conference championships
- 4 Postseason appearances
- 5 Bowl games
- 6 Head coaches
- 7 Rivalries
- 8 Facilities
- 9 Notable alumni
- 10 Individual awards
- 11 Future opponents
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Early history (1879–1977)
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. 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.
Pittsburgh assistant coach Vic Fusia took over the Redmen football program in 1961 and under his tutelage, UMass compiled a record of 59–32–2. The Fusia era included an undefeated 8–0–1 campaign in 1963 as well as records of 8–2, 7–2, 6–3 and 7–2 in the following years. However, two losing records in three seasons led to Fusia's dismissal after the 1970 season. Denver Broncos linebackers and defensive backs coach Dick MacPherson, a former UMass assistant from 1959–1960, took over after Fusia's firing. Under MacPherson, the Redmen compiled a record of 45–27–1. In 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.
Bob Pickett era (1978–1983)
Bob Pickett was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach of the Minutemen football program in 1978. Under Pickett's tutelage, the Minutemen won four conference championships and compiled a record of 36–28. Despite the successes, back-to-back losing seasons in 1982 and 1983 led to Pickett's dismissal.
Bob Stull era (1984–1985)
Washington offensive coordinator Bob Stull was the next head coach for UMass, and he led the Minutemen to a 10–12 record in two seasons before leaving the program to accept the head coaching position at UTEP. Under Stull, the Minutemen struggled to a two-win campaign in 1984 but improved to seven wins in 1985.
Jim Reid era (1986–1991)
Jim Reid was promoted from defensive coordinator following Stull's departure and led the Minutemen for six seasons, compiling a 36–29–2 that included five non-losing seasons during his tenure. Reid and UMass parted ways after the 1991 season.
Mike Hodges era (1992–1997)
UMass once again promoted their defensive coordinator, this time making Mike Hodges the team's head coach. Under Hodges, the Minutemen compiled a record of 35–30. Steady decline in the team's play that culminated with a 2–9 record in 1997 resulted in Hodges' firing.
Mark Whipple era (1998–2003)
In his first stint as coach of UMass from 1998 to 2003, Mark Whipple won the NCAA Division I-AA national title. His UMass teams rewrote the record books, setting more than 40 team records. The 1998 national championship team posted school records in points scored (524), touchdowns (73), total yards (7,074), passing yards (4,050), completions (306), and first downs (354).
Don Brown era (2004–2008)
In 2004, Northeastern head coach Don Brown returned to UMass, where he'd served as defensive coordinator from 1998–1999 to take over as head coach. During his tenure as head coach from 2004 to 2008, UMass posted the best five-year record in school history, 43–19. In his first year, he led the Minutemen to a 6–5 record, including victories over fourth-ranked Colgate, seventh-ranked New Hampshire, and ninth-ranked Maine. During 2005, Brown helped UMass to a 7–2 start and a final ranking of #19. That year, the Minutemen defeated fourth-ranked James Madison and handed Delaware their worst home loss in two decades, 35–7.
In 2006, Brown led Massachusetts to the Atlantic 10 conference championship and a finish as runners-up to the national championship. They ended the season ranked No. 2 with a 13–2 record. At home, he set a school record with a perfect 8–0 record in McGuirk Stadium. That season, Brown was named the AFCA Region I Coach of the Year, Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, and New England Football Coach of the Year.
Brown was relieved of his duties as head coach following the 2008 season.
Kevin Morris era (2009–2011)
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 some of their home games. In 2011, UMass completed their last season in the Colonial Athletic Association, and were not eligible for NCAA postseason play. UMass played a full FBS and MAC schedule in 2013 and became eligible for the MAC championship and bowl participation.
Morris was fired as UMass' head coach following a 5–6 season in 2011.
Charlie Molnar era (2012–2013)
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. Along with joining the Mid-American Conference the men's and women's basketball teams will play four non conference games against MAC teams.
UMass struggled mightily under Molnar's tutelage, compiling back-to-back 1–11 campaigns in 2012 and 2013, the first two seasons UMass was a member of the MAC and FBS. Molnar was fired after two seasons as head coach.
Whipple's return (2014–2018)
Mark Whipple was selected as Molnar's replacement, returning to UMass after eleven years and stints in the NFL and college football as an assistant coach. 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.
UMass finished 2–10 in 2016. The Minutemen kicked off the season on September 3 with a 24-7 loss to #25 Florida. After a 26-7 loss to archrival Boston College, Whipple's team picked up its first win of the season by defeating FIU by a margin of 21-13. The next week, they lost to Mississippi State by a score of 47-35. On October 1, UMass lost to Tulane by a margin of 31-24. That was followed by a 36-16 defeat at the hands of Old Dominion. Next, Whipple's Minutemen were doubled up by Louisiana Tech in a 56-28 loss. After a 34-28 loss to South Carolina, Whipple's Minutemen defeated FCS opponent Wagner by a score of 34-10. On November 5, UMass lost to Troy by a margin of 52-31. That was followed by a 51-9 blowout at the hands of BYU. In the season finale, the Minutemen lost to Hawaii by a score of 46-40.
The Minutemen finished 4–8 in 2017. They began the season on August 26 with a 38-35 loss to Hawaii. In the season's second game, UMass lost to Coastal Carolina by a score of 38-28. A third straight loss followed in the form of a 17-7 defeat at the hands of Old Dominion on September 9. Next, Whipple's team lost to Temple by a margin of 29-21. On September 23, the Minutemen played a hard-fought game but ultimately fell short against Tennessee by a score of 17-13. After a 58-50 loss to Ohio, UMass finally broke through with their first victory of the season, defeating Georgia Southern by a margin of 55-20. They recorded a second straight win the following week with a 30-27 double overtime victory over Appalachian State. After a 34-23 loss to #21 Mississippi State, Whipple's Minutemen defeated FCS opponent Maine by a margin of 44-31. They picked up their fourth win of the season a week later by virtue of a 16-10 victory over BYU. UMass concluded the season with a 63-45 loss to FIU on December 2.
Coach Whipple stepped down on November 20, 2018.
Walt Bell era (2019–present)
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- Independent (1879–1896)
- Athletic League of New England State Colleges (1897–1922)
- Independent (1923–1946)
- Yankee Conference (1947–1996)
- Atlantic 10 Conference (1997–2006)
- Colonial Athletic Association (2007–2011)
- Mid-American Conference (2012–2015)
- Independent (2016–present)
UMass has won a total of 22 conference championships, 12 shared and 10 outright.
|Season||Conference||Overall record||Conference record|
|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|
Division II playoffs
|1977||November 26||Quarterfinal||Lehigh||L 23–30||Amherst, Massachusetts|
Division I-AA playoffs
|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|
UMass has been to two bowl games, with the Minutemen garnering a record of 1–1.
|1964||Tangerine Bowl||East Carolina||L 13–14|
|1972||Boardwalk Bowl||UC Davis||W 35–14|
|1898||David F. Weeks||6||1||4||1||.250|
|1899–1900||Fred W. Murphy||20||12||8||0||.600|
|1904, 1907–1908||Matthew Bullock||26||13||8||5||.596|
|1906||George E. O'Hearn||9||1||7||1||.167|
|1909||J. W. Gage||9||1||6||2||.222|
|1941–1942, 1946||Walter Hargesheimer||23||11||11||1||.500|
|1945, 1947–1951||Thomas Eck||44||17||23||4||.432|
Massachusetts and Boston College are in-state rivals. The first game played between the two schools took place in 1899 and was played at a neutral location. Boston College won 18–0. At the time, UMass was known as Massachusetts Agricultural College. The relative proximity between the schools encouraged them to schedule additional matches in the subsequent years.
BC and UMass met again in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1901, 1902, and 1912, with UMass winning all three contests before the series was halted. The two universities did not meet again on the football field until 1966, when they began a seventeen-year series in which the teams would play each other in the last week of UMass' football season. UMass was in a lower division than BC during the entirety of the rivalry. As such, Boston College dominated the stretch, winning fifteen of the seventeen games, routinely blowing out the overmatched Minutemen.
After 22 years, the rivalry was renewed as UMass traveled to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to play Boston College once again. UMass was yet again outmatched, losing 29–7. The universities agreed to play two more times over the next seven years, and Boston College won both games easily.
In April 2011, UMass announced plans to join the Mid-American Conference and move up to the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, the highest level of college football in the country. Boston College had been a member of this division for decades, and there was much speculation that the two schools may cultivate a renewal of the rivalry. This was confirmed when it was reported in September 2011, that they had agreed to play a three-game biannual series beginning in 2014. Two of the games will be played at BC's Alumni Stadium and the other will be held at Gillette Stadium.
Most recently, the two teams met in September 2016, with BC winning 26–7.
|Games played||First meeting||Last meeting||UMass wins||UMass losses||UMass ties|
|26||1899 (Lost 18-0)||2016 (Lost 26-7)||5||21||0|
The first game played between Massachusetts and UConn took place on November 6, 1897, in Amherst, Massachusetts. UMass won 36–0. At the time, UMass was known as Massachusetts Agricultural College and Connecticut was officially Storrs Agricultural College. They had formed a loose association with other public colleges in New England such as present day New Hampshire and Rhode Island for the purpose of scheduling football matchups between the schools.
The colleges continued to schedule matches intermittently until after World War I, when they began to play on an almost-yearly basis through the mid-1920s. The series was discontinued until 1932, when the schools again met each year until World War II saw both universities disband their football teams. The schools would not match up again on the gridiron until UConn joined Massachusetts in the Yankee Conference in 1952. UConn and UMass played every season from that point on until UConn began their transition to what was then Division I-A in 2000.
UMass leads the all-time series 36–34–2. Massachusetts dominated the rivalry early, winning the first eight and 13 of the first 15 meetings between the two universities. Connecticut went on a streak of their own after that, winning 14 of the next 16 games. The 1960s again belonged to the then-Redmen of Massachusetts, as they lost only two games that decade. In the remaining years of the rivalry, the series was much more even, with neither team able to put together a winning streak of more than four games.
In April 2011, UMass announced plans to join the Mid-American Conference and move up to the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, the highest level of college football in the country. Prior to this decision, the two schools had scheduled a game for August 30, 2012. UMass later became a FBS Independent school starting in 2016. In 2015, the two schools announced that the Minutemen will visit Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in 2018 and 2020, and the Huskies will visit Gillette Stadium in 2019 and 2021.
|Games played||First meeting||Last meeting||UMass wins||UMass losses||UMass ties|
|72||1897 (Win 36-0)||2012 (Lost 37-0)||36||34||2|
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
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 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. 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. Both venues will be used for home games moving forward.
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. For 2012–2013 the team played all of their home games at Gillette. Since then, UMass has split their home games between Gillette Stadium and the on-campus McGuirk Alumni Stadium.
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NFL All-Pros and Pro Bowlers
|Milt Morin||none||1968, 1971|
Current NFL players
|Vladimir Ducasse||OG||Buffalo Bills||2009|
|Tajae Sharpe||WR||Tennessee Titans||2016|
|Elijah Wilkinson||OT||Denver Broncos||2017|
|Andy Isabella||WR||Arizona Cardinals||2019|
The following is a list of all Minutemen who were named Player, Coach, or Rookie of the Year for their respective conference.
|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
The following is a list of all Minutemen inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.
|Name||Position||Years at UMass||Inducted||Ref.|
Announced schedules as of September 19, 2019.
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