American Football Database


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.[1][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.[3] Denver Broncos linebackers and defensive backs coach Dick MacPherson, a former UMass assistant from 1959–1960, took over after Fusia's firing.[4] Under MacPherson, the Redmen compiled a record of 45–27–1.[5] 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.[6]

Bob Pickett era (1978–1983)

Bob Pickett was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach of the Minutemen football program in 1978.[7] Under Pickett's tutelage, the Minutemen won four conference championships and compiled a record of 36–28.[7] Despite the successes, back-to-back losing seasons in 1982 and 1983 led to Pickett's dismissal.[8]

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.[9] Under Stull, the Minutemen struggled to a two-win campaign in 1984 but improved to seven wins in 1985.[9]

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.[10] Reid and UMass parted ways after the 1991 season.[10]

Mike Hodges era (1992–1997)

UMass once again promoted their defensive coordinator, this time making Mike Hodges the team's head coach.[11] Under Hodges, the Minutemen compiled a record of 35–30.[11] Steady decline in the team's play that culminated with a 2–9 record in 1997 resulted in Hodges' firing.[12]

Mark Whipple era (1998–2003)

In his first stint as coach of UMass from 1998 to 2003,[13] Mark Whipple won the NCAA Division I-AA national title.[13] His UMass teams rewrote the record books, setting more than 40 team records.[14] 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).[14]

Whipple left college football for a position as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL in 2004.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

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.[17]

In 2007, UMass again won its conference, now as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. The team advanced to the semifinals and finished the season with a No. 6 final ranking.[17]

Brown was relieved of his duties as head coach following the 2008 season.[18]

Kevin Morris era (2009–2011)

UMass promoted offensive coordinator Kevin Morris to head coach following Brown's departure.[19] Under Morris, the Minutemen compiled a record of 16–17.

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.[20] 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.[21]

Charlie Molnar era (2012–2013)

Notre Dame offensive coordinator Charley Molnar was hired as UMass' head coach in December 2011.[22]

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.[23] Along with joining the Mid-American Conference the men's and women's basketball teams will play four non conference games against MAC teams.[24]

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.[25][26] Molnar was fired after two seasons as head coach.[27]

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.[28] 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.[29]

In 2014 and 2015, the Minutemen finished with a 3–9 record.[30][31]

UMass finished 2–10 in 2016.[32] The Minutemen kicked off the season on September 3 with a 24-7 loss to #25 Florida.[33] After a 26-7 loss to archrival Boston College,[34] Whipple's team picked up its first win of the season by defeating FIU by a margin of 21-13.[35] The next week, they lost to Mississippi State by a score of 47-35.[36] On October 1, UMass lost to Tulane by a margin of 31-24.[37] That was followed by a 36-16 defeat at the hands of Old Dominion.[38] Next, Whipple's Minutemen were doubled up by Louisiana Tech in a 56-28 loss.[39] After a 34-28 loss to South Carolina,[40] Whipple's Minutemen defeated FCS opponent Wagner by a score of 34-10.[41] On November 5, UMass lost to Troy by a margin of 52-31.[42] That was followed by a 51-9 blowout at the hands of BYU.[43] In the season finale, the Minutemen lost to Hawaii by a score of 46-40.[44]

The Minutemen finished 4–8 in 2017.[45] They began the season on August 26 with a 38-35 loss to Hawaii.[46] In the season's second game, UMass lost to Coastal Carolina by a score of 38-28.[47] A third straight loss followed in the form of a 17-7 defeat at the hands of Old Dominion on September 9.[48] Next, Whipple's team lost to Temple by a margin of 29-21.[49] On September 23, the Minutemen played a hard-fought game but ultimately fell short against Tennessee by a score of 17-13.[50] After a 58-50 loss to Ohio,[51] UMass finally broke through with their first victory of the season, defeating Georgia Southern by a margin of 55-20.[52] They recorded a second straight win the following week with a 30-27 double overtime victory over Appalachian State.[53] After a 34-23 loss to #21 Mississippi State,[54] Whipple's Minutemen defeated FCS opponent Maine by a margin of 44-31.[55] They picked up their fourth win of the season a week later by virtue of a 16-10 victory over BYU.[56] UMass concluded the season with a 63-45 loss to FIU on December 2.[57]

Coach Whipple stepped down on November 20, 2018.[58]

Walt Bell era (2019–present)

On December 3, 2018, Florida State offensive coordinator Walt Bell was hired as UMass' newest head coach.[59]


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  2. "UMass Athletics". UMass Athletics. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  3. "Credo | SCUA UMASS: subject:'Fusia, Vic'".,%20Vic%27&sort=3d&facets=. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
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  6. "Controversy has surrounded Minuteman before". May 18, 2003. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
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  16. "2016 Football Roster | University of Michigan Official Athletic Site". Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Player Bio: Don Brown Archived December 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Official University of Massachusetts Athletics Website, retrieved January 10, 2009.
  18. Republican file photo/Christopher Evans. "Don Brown out as UMass football coach |". Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  19. "Former UMass coach Kevin Morris tabbed as Yale's offensive coordinator". Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  20. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
  21. "Kevin Morris out as UMass football head coach". November 22, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  22. "Charley Molnar Hired As New UMass Football Head Coach". Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  23. "NCAA: UMass football must average 15,000 in attendance for 2013 or face probation". Retrieved July 17, 2017.
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  26. "2013 Massachusetts Minutemen Schedule and Results - College Football at". Retrieved July 17, 2017.
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  29. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named
  30. "2014 Massachusetts Minutemen Schedule and Results - College Football at". Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  31. "2015 Massachusetts Minutemen Schedule and Results - College Football at". Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  32. "2016 Massachusetts Minutemen Schedule and Results - College Football at". Retrieved July 17, 2017.
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  35. "Florida Intl vs. UMass - Game Recap - September 17, 2016 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  36. "Mississippi State vs. UMass - Game Recap - September 24, 2016 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  37. "Tulane vs. UMass - Game Recap - October 1, 2016 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  38. "UMass vs. Old Dominion - Game Recap - October 7, 2016 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  39. "Louisiana Tech vs. UMass - Game Recap - October 15, 2016 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  40. "UMass vs. South Carolina - Game Recap - October 22, 2016 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  41. "Wagner vs. UMass - Game Recap - October 29, 2016 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  42. "UMass vs. Troy - Game Recap - November 5, 2016 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  43. "UMass vs. BYU - Game Recap - November 19, 2016 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  44. "UMass vs. Hawai'i - Game Recap - November 26, 2016 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
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  47. "UMass vs. Coastal Carolina - Game Recap - September 2, 2017 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  48. "Old Dominion vs. UMass - Game Recap - September 9, 2017 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  49. "UMass vs. Temple - Game Recap - September 15, 2017 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  50. "UMass vs. Tennessee - Game Recap - September 23, 2017 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  53. "Appalachian State vs. UMass - Game Recap - October 28, 2017 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  54. "UMass vs. Mississippi State - Game Recap - November 4, 2017 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  56. "UMass vs. BYU - Game Recap - November 18, 2017 - ESPN". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  59. VanHaaren, Tom (December 3, 2018). "Walt Bell new UMass head coach after 1 year as FSU coordinator". Retrieved December 6, 2018.