Kole Ayi Linebacker 1997-2000 One of the top linebackers in school history, Kole Ayi was a two-time first team All-America selection in 1999 and 2000. Also a two-time first team All-Atlantic 10 choice, Ayi led the Minutemen in tackles during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. One of Ayi's top performances came against Georgia Southern in the 1998 national championship game, when he totaled 16 tackles, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for a touchdown. A two-time finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, and the runner-up in 1999, the former walk-on won the 2000 George "Bulger" Lowe Award from the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston. Ayi finished his career as UMass' all-time leader in career solo tackles with 330, while ranking third in total tackles with 478. He also set the school single-season record for solo tackles with 116 during the 1998 season.
Todd Bankhead is one of the most prolific passer in school history, setting numerous records in only two seasons, and leading the Minutemen to their first-ever national championship in 1998. A classic pocket passer with great arm speed, Bankhead owns many of the top 10 single game passing marks in school history. He set single-season marks for passing yards (3,919), completions (303), attempts (525) and touchdowns (34) during the 1998 season, then broke the mark for completion percentage (.635) in 1999. Bankhead finished his career with school record totals of 7,018 passing yards, 561 completions, 931 attempts, 51 touchdowns and a .603 completion percentage. A third team All-America selection during the 1998 season, Bankhead also earned second team All-Atlantic 10 honors in both 1998 and 1999. Bankhead went on to play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
Steve Baylark was a second-team All-American in 2006 in addition to being the Atlantic 10's Offensive Player of the Year that season in leading UMass to the NCAA Championship game. Baylark became the third back in NCAA history gain more than 1,000 yards in four seasons. He was just the second UMass player to gain more than 5,000 career yards with 5,332. He rushed for 1,960 yards as a senior in 2006, the second-most in a season in UMass history. He scored 42 touchdowns in his career including 15 as a senior. he played in the East-West Shrine Game following the year. Baylark was signed by the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent in 2007, where he joined Marcel Shipp, the only player to stand ahead of him on the UMass career rushing lists.
Lou Bush was UMass' first All-American in football and still holds many UMass records nearly 70 years after his last game as an `Aggie.' Bush was phenomenal in 1931 and 1932, scoring 39 touchdowns over that span, an average of over two per game. In his first year of collegiate football in 1931, Bush led the nation in touchdowns with 20. Bush finished at UMass with 45 touchdowns, before his career was cut short by an early season injury during his senior campaign. Beside setting UMass season (20) and career (45) marks for touchdowns, Bush also shares the game record, twice scoring five touchdowns (vs. Wagner in 1931 and Cooper Union in 1932). One of his five-touchdown performances led UMass to its largest victory ever, a 77-0 thrashing of Wagner in 1931. Bush was inducted as a charter member of the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1969.
Tony Chambers was a 1952 All-American for UMass, making 36 catches for 455 yards and seven touchdowns. Chambers teamed with Noel Reebenacker on what remains one of the most prolific passing teams in UMass history, and was named All-Yankee Conference and All-New England in addition to his All-America honors. While excelling on offense, Chambers' love was on the defensive end of the field, and he played every snap of every game in the 1952 season. Among Chambers' coaches at UMass were baseball coaching legend (and football end coach) Earl Lorden and line coach Chester Gladchuk. Chambers was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1980.
Liam Coen will go down as the greatest quarterback in UMass history. He graduated in 2008 holding nearly every passing record including every career passing record. Became the 21st QB in FCS history with 10,000 career passing yards in the win over Bryant on Oct. 25, 2008. First in passing yards (11,031) passing efficiency (152.92), completion percentage (63.9), TD passes (90), completions (830), and attempts (1,303). Among all-time FCS quarterbacks, 11,031 yards ranks 12th all-time and 90 touchdowns ranks 14th all-time in history. Coen led UMass to two conference titles in 2006 and 2007 with postseason NCAA berths in both seasons with an appearance in the 2006 NCAA championship game. Coen was named three-time all-conference selection. He was a 2007 and 2008 Walter Payton Award candidate.
Defensive Lineman 1991-1994
Brian Corcoran was named the Yankee Conference Defensive Player of the Year and earned second team All-America honors in 1994. He was a two-time first team All-Yankee Conference selection after leading UMass in sacks as a junior and senior. Corcoran finished his career ranked third on the school's all-time career sack list with 30. When the ice hockey program at UMass was reinstated in 1993-94, Corcoran made the team as a walk-on defenseman. He played three professional seasons in the American Hockey League for the Baltimore Bandits and the Hershey Bears. Corcoran was one of six Minutemen named to the Yankee Conference 50th Anniversary team in 1996.
Linebacker 1963, 1965
Enthusiasm, unlimited energy, leadership and constant optimism made Bernie Dallas a great athlete and man. Dallas was a two-year letterwinner in football for UMass and earned first team All-Yankee Conference and All-New England honors. He also served as team captain during his senior season. As a sophomore he played offensive center and defensive linebacker and was a sparkplug on the undefeated 8-0-1 team that captured the school's first outright Yankee Conference football title. Followng his UMass career, Dallas went on to play professionally for the Philadelphia Bulldogs. An automobile accident took Dallas' life on April 29, 1968, but the Dallas Memorial Mall across from the East side of McGuirk Stadium keeps his name and spirit alive. Dallas was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1971.
Offensive Lineman 1989-1993
Bill Durkin was a first team All-America selection in 1993, when he anchored an offensive line unit which helped UMass post a then-school-record 3,261 rushing yards on the season. Durkin was a two-time first team All-Yankee Conference pick in 1992 and 1993 while serving as team co-captain in each of those years. He went on to play professionally both in the Canadian Football League and the World League of American Football (now NFL Europe). Durkin was one of six Minutemen named to the Yankee Conference 50th Anniversary team in 1996.
Frederick "Fritz" ELLERT
Frederick "Fritz" Ellert was a three-year letterwinner for coach Charles McGeock's Massachusetts Aggies, earning a spot on the 1929 All-New England team. Ellert caught a touchdown pass from Ken McKittrick to upset Bates 6-0 in 1928. He also had a 95-yard touchdown run in the season finale against Tufts, a school record for longest run from scrimmage that stood until 1996. Upon completion of his collegiate athletic career, Ellert became a member of the faculty at UMass. He also coached the men's basketball team for three years (1930-1931, 1932-1933, 1940-1941), posting an 18-16 (.529) mark during this time. He retired from his faculty post in 1970 and was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1971.
Head Coach 1961-1970
Vic Fusia was the head coach from 1961 through 1970 and led UMass to five Yankee Conference championships. His Redmen had their top season in 1964, when he guided them to their first-ever postseason appearance -- the 1964 Tangerine Bowl, where UMass lost a heartbreaker to East Carolina 14-13. Fusia compiled a 59-32-2 record as head coach and is still the winningest coach in UMass history, 33 years after retiring. He also had an incredible 41-7-1 mark in Yankee Conference games, with his .854 winning percentage in league games still ranking as the second-best mark in conference history. Fusia produced some of the most outstanding players ever at UMass, including NFL stars Greg Landry and Milt Morin. He also directed the stingiest defense in UMass history in 1963, when Fusia's troops allowed only one touchdown the entire season and a total of only 12 points in nine games. Fusia's teams were always competitive, and nothing illustrates that better than this amazing fact -- in 10 seasons at the helm at UMass and over 40 Yankee Conference games, only once did one of his teams lose a conference game by more than seven points. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Fusia passed away in 1991. He was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.
Harold "Kid" GORE
Harold "Kid" Gore was a two-year letterwinner at quarterback for the UMass football team and went on to become the first full-time Aggie football coach in 1919. Gore compiled a 33-32-5 (.507) record. His 33 wins still rank as the seventh-best total in UMass history. Gore went on to reinstate both the men's basketball and baseball programs to varsity status. He later compiled an 85-53 overall mark while coaching the basketball team for 11 years, the second-longest tenure of any basketball coach in school history. Gore was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1969.
Emory Grayson was one of the most versatile athletes in UMass history. He won eight letters in football, basketball and baseball, while also competing in hockey and track. Grayson played as a backup halfback during his freshman year, alternating between the backfield and the end position. In his junior year, he played in the first game on the new Alumni Field (where Whitmore Administration Building now stands) and helped power Massachusetts Agricultural College to a 26-0 win over Colby. He went on to serve as team captain in his senior season. Grayson was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1969.
Rene INGOGLIA Running Back 1992-1995 Rene Ingoglia finished his collegiate career as one of the greatest running backs in UMass history. A two-time All-America selection (1994 and 1995), he became the school and Yankee Conference's all-time leading rusher with 4,624 career rushing yards. In all, Ingoglia completed his four years with 10 UMass school records and two Yankee Conference marks to his credit. He became the first UMass player in history to average more than 100 yards per game rushing over a career at 112.8. Ingoglia posted 21 career 100+ yard games, three career 200+ yard performances, and outrushed the entire opposing team 18 times in his career. He also finished second on the all-time Division I-AA career rushing touchdown list (54, one shy of record), fourth among non-kickers on the all-time I-AA scoring list (332 points, ahead of Jerry Rice), fifth on the all-time I-AA rushing yards list and 11th in career rushing yards per game. A first team All-Yankee Conference selection as a senior in 1995, he was one of a handful of Division I-AA players chosen to participate in the 1996 Hula Bowl All-Star Classic. During his junior season, he rushed for a then-Yankee Conference and school single-game record 313 yards against Rhode Island. Ingoglia was one of six Minutemen named to the Yankee Conference 50th Anniversary team, announced in June of 1996. He was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.
Defensive Back 2002-2005
Shannon James was a two-time first team All-American in 2004 and 2005. He was honored as the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. James was a superior safety as he set the UMass record for career interceptions with 20. During his junior and seniors seasons, James was the career active leader in interception for all NCAA divisions. He tied the school record for pick-offs in a season with eight in 2004. James also finished as the seventh all-time leading tackler in UMass history with 341. He stands fourth in solo stops with 253. James was invited to Baltimore Ravens training camp in 2005 and is starring with the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League currently.
Offensive Guard 1975-1978
Bruce Kimball was a two-time first team All-America selection on the offensive line for the Minutemen. At his right offensive guard position, Kimball anchored a UMass line that helped the Minutemen rush for over 3,000 yards in 1978 (a new school record at the time) on their way to the Division I-AA national championship game. Three different players on the squad rushed for over 500 yards, including Dennis Dent with 1,139. Kimball played a couple of seasons in the Canadian Football League and went on to play for both the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins, playing in Super Bowl XVIII with the Redskins in 1984. One of six Minutemen named to the Yankee Conference 50th Anniversary team, announced in June of 1996, Kimball was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
Greg Landry is one of the greatest quarterbacks in UMass history. Behind his golden arm and running ability, UMass won two Yankee Conference Beanpots in three years. Landry led the team in passing all three years, and led in both rushing and scoring in 1965 and 1967. Landry's quarterback efficiency rating of 145.4 in 1965 is still a school record. He also shares the single-game mark for highest completion percentage (.800). Landry went on to be a successful pro player, spending 14 years in the NFL with both the Detroit Lions and the Baltimore Colts, including a season as an All-Pro for Detroit in 1971, when he started for the NFC in the Pro Bowl. Landry also had a stint with the Chicago Blitz in the now-defunct USFL. Landry later served as an assistant coach for his former team, the Detroit Lions, after spending several years on the coaching staff at the University of Illinois. He was the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears when they won Super Bowl XX. Landry was one of six Minutemen named to the Yankee Conference 50th Anniversary team, announced in June of 1996. He was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1980.
UMass went 19-6-1 while Joe Lojko was the starting quarterback for Massachusetts State College's single-wing offensive attack that ranked among the best in New England. In addition to playing football for three years, Lojko earned three letters in basketball and two in baseball. He served as team captain of the 1933-1934 basketball team that compiled a 12-0 record, the only major New England school to ever have an undefeated basketball season. His game-winning basket against Amherst College helped preserve the unblemished record. Lojko died in a tragic automobile accident on April 27, 1934, in South Deerfield, Mass., less than two months from his graduation day. Lojko was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1970.
Head Coach 1971-1977
Dick MacPherson took over the helm of the Minutemen from Vic Fusia in 1971, and proceeded to lead UMass to four Yankee Conference championships during his seven-year tenure. Between 1971 and 1977, MacPherson compiled a 45-27-1 record and led UMass to its only postseason bowl victory. MacPherson's 1972 squad, featuring receivers Tim Berra and Steve Schubert, and Peil Pennington at quarterback, defeated the University of California at Davis, 35-14, in the 1972 Boardwalk Bowl. His squads also posted a 28-8-1 mark in Yankee Conference games, with his .778 league winning percentage still ranking as the fifth-best in conference history. After leaving UMass, MacPherson went on to a successful tour with Syracuse (1981-1990), leading the Orangemen to five postseason bowls, including his undefeated 1987 squad's Sugar Bowl appearance. He also had a two-year stint as head coach of the New England Patriots (1991-1992). He was inducted in the UMass Hall of Fame in 2004.
Defensive Lineman 1972-1975
Ed McAleney earned first team All-America honors from his defensive end spot in 1975. He was also a three-time first team All-Yankee Conference selection during his career with UMass. In his freshman campaign, McAleney was a member of the 1972 squad that downed California-Davis, 35-14, at the Boardwalk Bowl. McAleney was also a two-time captain for the Minutemen in 1974 and 1975. Following his collegiate career, McAleney spent seven seasons with the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League (1977-1983). McAleney was one of six Minutemen named to the Yankee Conference 50th Anniversary team in 1996. He was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.
Bob Meers was a three-year letterwinner in football, earning All-Yankee Conference and All-New England honors in each of his three seasons. By the time he left UMass, Meers held school marks for career (82) and single-season receptions (39), shared the record for most receptions in a game (nine), and ranked second in receiving yards in a game (146), career receiving yards (1,104), single-season receiving yards per game (58.9) and career receiving yards per game (40.9). Meers still ranks ninth all-time at UMass in career receptions. A tri-captain of the 1965 team, Meers was a seventh-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1966 NFL Draft. Meers was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.
Milt Morin, an All-American in 1964 and 1965, was one of the most versatile athletes ever to play for UMass. While catching enough passes to place him eighth on the career receiving yards list and setting the record at the time, he also excelled on defense and was the team's placekicker his senior year. In addition to his action on the gridiron, Morin was also the New England heavyweight wrestling champion in 1965 and played for Dick Garber on the varsity lacrosse team. Morin was a key part of two Yankee Conference championship teams and saw UMass compile a 23-4-1 (14-1 YanCon) record in his three seasons. Morin went on to play 10 seasons professionally for the Cleveland Browns between 1966 and 1975 and played in three Pro Bowls (1966, 1968 and 1969). He is eighth on the Browns' all-time list in receiving yardage (4,208 yards) and tied for eighth in receptions (271). Morin was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1970.
Running Back 1979-1982
Garry Pearson was a two-time first team All-American (1981 and 1982) for the Minutemen, and helped UMass to three Yankee Conference titles in his four seasons. He set new standards for running backs at UMass in his four-year tenure. Spending only three seasons in the backfield, Pearson graduated as the school's career leader in rushing (3,859 yards) and all-purpose yardage (5,277 yards). During his freshman year, Pearson was used almost exclusively to return kicks, before becoming a starting running back as a sophomore. Pearson capped off his UMass career in spectacular fashion, rushing for a then-record 288 yards against American International College in his final collegiate game. He was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Head Coach 1978-1983
In his first season as a head coach in 1978, Bob Pickett led UMass to a berth in the first-ever NCAA Division I-AA championship game. UMass lost to Florida A&M 35-28 at the Pioneer Bowl in Wichita Falls, Texas, but on the way to the championship game, the Minutemen routed previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Nevada-Reno on its home turf. For his accomplishments that season, Pickett was named Coach of the Year by both the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston and the ECAC, while the team earned the Lambert Cup (given to the best Division I-AA team in the East) and was named ECAC Team of the Year. In his six-year tour as head coach, Pickett compiled a 36-28 record and led the Minutemen to four Yankee Conference titles. Pickett went on to serve as an associate athletic director at UMass, retiring from that position in the summer of 1997. He also served as a color commentator on radio broadcasts of Minuteman football games from 1998-2003.
Noel Reebenacker was a walk-on quarterback who earned three varsity letters in football. He earned All-Yankee Conference honors in 1952 and was named to the Little All-America Team in 1953. Upon the completion of his UMass career, Reebenacker had established school single-season records for passing yards (1,865), completions (132), touchdown passes (20) and total offense yards (2,080), in addition to recording the longest kickoff return in school history with a 102-yard scamper against Springfield College in 1951. Reebenacker later worked at UMass as the backfield coach for two years under coach Charles O'Rourke. Reebenacker was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.
Khari Samuel was a first team All-American and first team All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection who helped lead the Minutemen to their first-ever national championship in 1998. He was one of the best all-around defensive players in school history, able to stuff the run, put pressure on the quarterback and drop off into coverage. Samuel finished his career as UMass' all-time leader in solo tackles with 328, while ranking second in total tackles (495), fourth in assisted tackles (167) and seventh in sacks (19). As a senior in 1998, he recorded the second-highest single-season total in school history for solo tackles (113), while ranking third on the list for total tackles (160). Samuel also served as a team captain in both 1997 and 1998, and received the 1998 George "Bulger" Lowe Award from the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston as the best Division I defensive player in New England. Following the completion of his collegiate career, Samuel was selected by the Chicago Bears in the fifth round of the 1999 NFL Draft.
Running Back 1997-2000
One of the top running backs in the history of Division I-AA football, Marcel Shipp was a two-time first team All-America selection for the Minutemen in 1998 and 1999. Shipp rushed for 200 or more yards in a single game seven times during his UMass career, including a 244-yard, three-touchdown performance to lead the Minutemen over Georgia Southern in the 1998 national championship game. Only the 12th player in school history to earn first team all-conference honors three times, Shipp finished his career as the all-time leading rusher in the history of the Atlantic 10 Conference with 6,250 yards. He also set UMass career records for carries (1,215), rushing yards per game (130.2), rushing touchdowns (58), all-purpose yards (7,759), all-purpose plays (1,365), all-purpose yards per game (161.1), points scored (378) and touchdowns scored (63). Shipp currently plays for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.
Mark Whipple Head Coach 1998-2003 Mark Whipple led UMass to its first NCAA championship in football, capturing the title in his first season with the Minutemen in 1998. Whipple went on to coach UMass for six seasons compiling a 49-26 overall record for a 65.3 win percentage. Whipple coached UMass to three Atlantic 10 Championships, winning crowns in 1998, 1999 and 2003. He left Amherst in 2004 to serve as quarterbacks coach with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, where they won Super Bowl XL in 2006. He is currently the offensive coordinator at the University of Miami.