UMass Athletics

Republican: Highlights from UMass football pro day

Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican has highlights from UMass football's NFL Pro Day which includes a video produced by the UMass Sports Network.

Collegian: UMass baseball prepares for Richmond

Tyler Fiedler of the Daily Collegian has a preview of UMass baseball's series at Richmond this weekend.

Nick Canelas of the Daily Collegian spoke with UMass football coach Mark Whipple and freshman linebacker Shane Huber about the announcement earlier this week that the 2015 season would be the last for the Minutemen as members of the MAC.

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a notebook from last night's football practice where he spoke with head coach Mark Whipple about conference realignment, running back Lorenzo Woodley on how he is approaching his sophomore season, and news of James Ihedigbo signing with the Detroit Lions.

Jack Leaman's Legacy Can Be Felt Tonight In Indianapolis

Around 9:45 pm Eastern Time tonight, Kentucky and Louisville will meet in an NCAA Tournament Round of 16 game in Indianapolis. Two coaches with deep UMass ties in John Calipari and Rick Pitino will direct their respective teams in their own, unique ways. And there will be subtle nuances they gained during their time in Amherst with the Minutemen's all-time winningest men's basketball coach Jack Leaman.

Here are a few stories that have been written on the duo's associations with Jack, who compiled 217 victories from 1966-79 and spent a total of 37 years associated with the University.

Freelance writer Dave Cunning has an in-depth Q&A with former Minuteman, current San Jose Sharks' defenseman, Matt Irwin on The Score:

"He may not be a household name just yet, but San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin may work his way into your mental NHL player directory yet. Now in his second NHL season, the 26 year old British Columbian is continuing a trend from his amateur career that has seen his point totals, ice-time, and contributions to his team's success dynamically increase every year.

Irwin spoke with me at length about his long road to the NHL and what he'll have to do to stay there, the tough decisions he was required to make and small window of opportunity he had to live out his dream, past teammates that helped get him where he is now, current ones that help make him better, what the San Jose Sharks will have to do to win their first Stanley Cup, what it takes to be consistently inserted into a lineup full of Olympians, All-Stars, and Stanley Cup champions, and more.

Read more: Getting to know San Jose Sharks' defenseman Matt Irwin

Matthew Zackman of the Daily Collegian wrote an article on the team chemistry that the softball team develops and fosters on its early-season trips to Florida each season.

    For most New Englanders, a trip to Florida is the epitome of a well-deserved break.
    Some enjoy relaxing on the beach, others like to play golf on Florida's finest courses and there are even those who will attempt to ride each roller coaster at all five of Disney World's parks.
    But for the Massachusetts softball team, a visit to Florida is all about business.
    On Feb. 21, the Minutewomen flew to Clearwater, Fla., for their first five games of the season. Despite being within driving distance to both Busch Gardens and Adventure Island, UMass opted to focus on being student-athletes.
    Although they were 1,315 miles away from their classrooms in Amherst, the team "is a very well rounded group of players that take their academics very seriously," UMass coach Kristi Stefanoni said.
    Stefanoni emphasized that her players attend UMass for academics and are aware that schoolwork is their first priority. They are in constant contact with their professors and their professors even work to accommodate the team's demanding travel schedule.

Read the entire article here...

Daily Collegian softball writer Jason Kates has a feature article on Interim Head Softball Coach Kristi Stefanoni. They talk about her love for the game of softball, her high school and college playing days and her first year in charge of the Minutewomen program.

George 'Trigger' Burke: The dean of Quincy hoops

The Patriot Ledger in Quincy has a nice feature on former UMass basketball great George "Trigger" Burke.

    QUINCY - It was no surprise to see Quincy lawyer George "Trigger" Burke at Friday's Boston Amateur Basketball Club tournament at Quincy High, checking out the ninth-, 10th- and 11th-grade talent, just as Quincy High coach Dave Parry and North Quincy High coach Kevin Barrett were.
    After all, if any man's name is synonymous with Quincy hoops, it is Burke, and as he is quick to point out, he's been happy to donate money to both high schools' programs, even though he is a 1950 Quincy High grad. But it might have been a little surprising to find Burke at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn two weekends ago, although he thoroughly enjoyed the trip to the new arena.
    "What a beautiful arena," Burke said from his Hancock Street office. "And out front they had these giant pictures of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce!" Burke wasn't there to catch up on former Celtics, although he is one himself, but rather to receive yet another honor for his own basketball exploits. In conjunction with the Atlantic 10 Tournament, the conference honored a select few former players from its schools with the Atlantic 10 Legends Award.
    "They asked the schools to nominate people from their past, and UMass nominated me," Burke explained. "Of course, in those days there was no A-10 - we played in the Yankee Conference - but it was nice recognition from the school and the A-10."

Read the entire article here...

VIDEO: Highlights From UMass Football's NFL Pro Day

The UMass Sports Network was on hand as UMass football pro day drew 21 NFL scouts to McGuirk Alumni Stadium on March 25, 2014.