July is in the books tonight as we make way for August and the start of the fall seasons here at UMass. Football camp opens on Aug. 9 so get your chin strap on. Friday's JTAM features many stories on what else, football. Info on a pair of Syracuse transfers joining UMass, FBS opponents and alums Liam Coen and Matt Lawrence. Also don't forget Ricky Harris' chat at 11 a.m. this morning.
The UMass football roster has been updated to include a pair of Syracuse transfers who have joined the program in linebacker Mike Mele and receiver Dan Sheeran. The former Orange players were roommates at SU and are looking forward to playing for the Minutemen.
USA Today has a breakdown of the Big 12 in football featuring a look at UMass' opening opponent Kansas State. It finishes with the following line: The schedule is to Snyder's liking as the Cats play UMass, Tennessee Tech and Louisiana Lafayette.
In the football mode, according to reports, Michigan will be opening its 2010 season with a visit from UConn on Sept. 4. UMass will play at the to-be-refurbished Big House on Sept. 18, 2010 in week three.
All-time leading UMass passer Liam Coen is in Iowa with his Arena Football 2 team, the Manchester Wolves, for a playoff game on Friday night at the Iowa Barnstormers. Check out this preview from the Des Moines Register in Iowa.
Major League Lacrosse action is down to the nitty-gritty for many UMass alums. Here's a look at the playoff scenarios as Boston (6-5) with Sean Morris and Jack Reid have clinched a postseason berth and Toronto (6-5) including Jeff Zywicki and Doc Schneider are also into the playoffs. Long Island (5-5) with Chris Fiore and Chicago (3-7) featuring Kevin Leveille are battling for the final spot. Denver (8-2) is the No. 1 seed with UMass alum Bill Edell on the sidelines as an assistant coach.
Diamondbacks prospect and UMass alum Matt Torra continued to struggle in the second half of the season for the Mobile Bay Bears. He lost 12-2 on Wednesday in the first game of a doubleheader to fall to 6-10 overall. He has not won since starting the Double-A All-Star Game three weeks ago.
Check This Out On UMassAthletics.com: UMass' first-round of auctions as part of the new website finished on Thursday and the Julius Erving street banner brought in $201. More items are up for bid on the Auctions Page.
Don't Miss This: UMass football individual game tickets go on sale on Monday, August 3 look out for them. Liam Coen has a chance to make his pro debut with the Manchester Wolves on Friday night in the af2 playoffs at the Iowa Barnstormers.
Thursday, July 30
Kevin Morris' first CAA Media Day as the head man of UMass football is in the books. Check out plenty of stories of the event in JTAM. Big news on former All-American hoop star Stephane Lasme, who has signed to play for the powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel. More news on UMass alum Matt Lawrence in Ravens camp and Cory Quirk signing with AHL's Worcester.
Stephane Lasme'sofficial signing with Israel League power Maccabi Tel Aviv was announced on Wednesday. He played in Serbia last year. Assistant coach Sharon Drucker said: "Lasme is a real team player who can play both sides of the court to win games.
He was great in the Euroleague last season when he played for Partizan Belgrade and his performance just keeps getting better."
UMass fans won't have to go all the way Israel to see Lasme as Maccabi will play an exhibition game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 18. Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv has won a remarkable 47 Israeli Championships, 36 National Cups, 5 European Cups and beat the Toronto Raptors 105-103 in October of 2005, becoming the only non-American team to ever defeat an NBA team on North American soil.
In Baltimore Ravens camp, Matt Lawrence is gaining notice according to Baltimore Beatdown saying: Matt Lawrence is contantly hustling, but seems like a longshot although he plays with versatility, running and catching well. He was playing with the first-team corp as well.
The Charlotte Observer has a preview of ACC football mentioning the importance of Miami hiring former UMass head coach Mark Whipple to run the Hurricanes' offense.
Check This Out On UMassAthletics.com: The very popular calemdar of events has been added back to the "Schedules" drop down on the master navagation of the website.
Don't Miss This: Looks for more coverage from CAA Media Day with a video interview and several podcasts to be posted on Thursday.
Wednesday, July 29
Wednesday brings CAA Football Media Day at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore, stay tuned to UMassAthletics.com for information on the preseason polls and All-CAA teams. Just Take A Minute has a story on the son of the most famous basketball player in the world, who will make his college debut against UMass. Football news on alums Liam Coen, Courtney Robinson, Matt Lawrence and Brandon London. Also a story on UMass lacrosse alums turned coaches Gerry Byrne and Chris Gabrielli.
In case you didn't know Michael Jordan's son Marcus will make his college debut for Central Florida against UMass in the men's basketball season opener for both teams on Nov. 13 down in Orlando. Check out this story from the UCF Today blog.
2007 grad Matt Lawrence is making an impression in Baltimore Ravens camp. According to Press Box Online he was the first official uniformed player on the field on the first day of camp on Tuesday in Westminster, Md. He is also mentioned in this story looking like a natural receiver out of the backfield.
Two UMass alums are featured on Inside Lacrosse's Next Wave of D-I Assistant Coaches. Notre Dame defensive coordinator Gerry Byrne a 1986 UMass grad included on the list played defense for the legendary Dick Garber. Duke defensive coordinator Chris Gabrielli is also in the story. Gabrielli played defense for coach Greg Cannella at UMass finishing up in 2001, and coached at his alma mater from 2003-05.
The pro fastpitch softball team of UMass' Brandice Balschmiter won its "Battle of the Sexes" on Monday against the men's pro independent baseball team the Schaumburg Flyers, 4-2. Balschmiter didn't play in the game. Pitching behind the likes of Jennie Finch, Brandice has thrown 32 innings with a 2-0 record and a 2.45 ERA.
Check This Out On UMassAthletics.com: Nine items are up for auction on the new site. Check out some great basketball memorabilia and apparel.
Don't Miss This: CAA Football Media Day takes place today down in Baltimore at the ESPN Zone. Check in for all the latest from the event including the preseason All-CAA team.
Tuesday, July 28
Welcome back to JTAM on Tuesday. Tony Gaffney got the call on Monday that he would be invited to the L.A. Lakers veteran training camp this fall. Congrats to Tony! Plenty of football news with the start of NFL training camps. Check out info on UMass alums James Ihedigbo, Brandon London and Courtney Robinson. Also, see where one service has Vladimir Ducasse ranked in FCS heading into his senior year. JTAM also has news on baseball's Matt Torra, hockey's Dan Stork and former runner Jen St. Jean.
FCS expert Josh Buchanan has a list of "Top 100 FCS NFL" prospects, where he lists UMass' offensive tackle Vladimir Ducasse as the the #2 prospect in FCS/I-AA.
UMass alum and New York Jet James Ihedigbo is making a difference off the field as he took part in The Valerie Fund's second annual Sickle Cell Awareness Blood Drive on Saturday at Seton Hall in conjunction with The Three Doctors Foundation's annual health walkathon. The organization achieved its goal of bringing in new blood donors of African descent--nearly three times as many as at its first drive less than a year ago--who may be matches for local children with sickle cell disease.
On NESN.com UMass alum Jeff Howe has a story on Brandon London, who is fighting for more playing time with the Miami Dolphins.
Check out this photo of UMass' Courtney Robinson in camp with the Philadelphia Eagles in the Morning Call. Eagles' defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, is talking with Robinson during the teams first day of football camp at Lehigh University on Monday. Robinson is wearing No. 45.
Could former UMass first-round baseball pick Matt Torra be on the way to the majors? The Arizona Republic mentions Torra as a possible recall for the injury-riddled Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Orlando Sentinel has a story on the Florida Gators 2009-10 men's basketball schedule mentioning the chance the Gators have to play UMass in the Legends Classic. UF also plays Xavier from the Atlantic 10 in Gainesville.
Former UMass hockey player Dean Stork (1996-99) has been re-signed as an assistant coach with the AHL's Cincinnati Cyclones for 2009-10. Stork, 33, has served as an assistant with the Cyclones the past three seasons, helping guide the club to a 133-67-16 record (.653 winning percentage).
Former UMass track and cross country Jen St. Jean is featured in the Darien Times after winning the 30th annual Summer Cross Country race at Waveny Park in New Canaan on July 14.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal has a brief story on out-going Mullins Center general manager Ben Weiss, who is leaving to run the Memphis Redbirds' stadium AutoZone Park.
Check This Out On UMassAthletics.com: The Season Tickets page has been completely re-done. Check it out to purchase your tickets today.
Don't Miss This: CAA Football Media Day takes place this Wednesday, July 29, down in Baltimore at the ESPN Zone. Check in for all the latest from the event including the preseason All-CAA team.
Week four of the CFL is in the books and several UMass alums have been playing key roles in the football league North of the border. Anton McKenzie has 20 tackles and a sack in four games with the BC Lions. He ranks eighth in the CFL in tackles early on. Keron Williams has four sacks and nine tackles for the Montreal Alouettes. He is tied for third in the league in sacks. With the Calgary Stampeders, Shannon James has 11 tackles.
Recent UMass grad Courtney Robinson opened his first NFL camp with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. We will have updates as he looks to earn playing time in Philly. The Journal News mentions him.
If you missed it late last week, USA Today had a long front page sports story on UMass' first football opponent of 2009, Kansas State and returning head coach Bill Snyder. He will return to the sidelines at Kansas State after three years of retirement. The Wildcats won 17 games in those three seasons after winning 136 games in Snyder's 17 seasons during his first tenure as head coach.
Keeper's Website which looks at FCS football, pegs UMass' 2009 schedule as the 11th-most difficult in the division heading into the season.
Mitchell Clegg had his first rough outing as a pro. After entering Saturday's game with a 0.75, Clegg gave up five runs in four innings in a 5-3 loss to the Lowell Spinners, managed by UMass alum Gary DiSarcina. Clegg's ERA "rocketed" to 2.25.
DiSarcina is quoted in this story in the Eagle-Tribune about the Red Sox philosophy in building a team.
UMass alum Chad Paronto pitched in his second game with the Houston Astros this season, on Saturday against the New York Mets. He gave up two runs in two innings and has had a tough time in his return to the bigs with a 23.14 ERA in 2.1 innings.
Former UMass All-American lacrosse player Kevin Leveille had two goals as his Chicago Machine won 18-11 over the Washington Bayhawks on Saturday. Leveille is tied for fifth in the league with 30 goals and 38 points.
Also in the MLL, UMass All-American Chris Fiore had an assist in his Long Island Lizards' 12-7 loss to the Denver Outlaws on Saturday.
The Connecticut Post has a story on softball star Carly Normandin, who is been stellar with the Stratford Brakettes. In addition to hitting .419, she has 10 doubles, four triples and four home runs among her 39 hits; in 29 games, she had driven in 30 runs and scored 36.