Tom Masella is in his second season as defensive coordinator and secondary coach on Mark Whipple’s staff. A former head coach in the Atlantic 10 Conference at Boston University, Masella’s defense allowed an average of only 345.6 yards and 20.8 points per game in 2002.
Masella came to UMass after spending three seasons as defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech University. In 2001, Masella’s defense ranked 13th nationally in Division I-A in turnovers forced and 11th in interceptions. He helped lead the Bulldogs to an overall record of 7-5, including the Western Athletic Conference championship and an appearance in the Humanitarian Bowl. In 2000, Masella’s unit ranked 30th in the nation in pass defense and placed two defensive players on the All-Louisiana team.
He took over the Bulldog defense in 1999, orchestrating a major upgrade in Tech’s ability to stop opponents, as the Bulldogs improved in almost every defensive statistical category from 1998. Louisiana Tech surrendered almost a touchdown less per game in 1999, moving up 22 spots in scoring defense. Tech also moved from 87th in the nation in total defense in 1998 to 67th in 1999, thanks in large part to the job done in the defensive secondary where the Masella-led Bulldogs improved to 32nd in pass efficiency defense compared to 79th in 1998.
Prior to landing at Louisiana Tech, Masella spent the 1998 season as assistant head coach and secondary coach at the University of Connecticut. While at UConn, Masella helped to guide the Huskies to a 10-3 mark, a No. 8 national ranking and the school’s first-ever Division I-AA playoff appearance.
Masella has also been a head coach, beginning at Fairfield University in 1995, where he prepared the school for its first season of varsity competition in 1996. From Fairfield, he went on to become the head coach at Boston University. Masella spent the 1996 and 1997 seasons leading the Terriers, before the school dropped its football program.
Prior to his head coaching days, Masella was an assistant at Boston University from 1990 to 1994, serving as the secondary coach, defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Masella began his coaching career at Wagner College in 1982 as the secondary and defensive ends coach. Following three years at Wagner, he moved on to the United States Merchant Marine Academy, where he served as defensive coordinator and assistant athletic director from 1985 to 1989.
“We are excited to have someone with Tom’s experience on our staff, and he has brought tremendous enthusiasm and multiplicity to our defense,” said Whipple. “He has been a head coach in the Atlantic 10 Conference, and was the defensive coordinator for the Western Athletic Conference champions in 2001. There is no one better suited to lead our defense, as we strive to win a championship.” The Staten Island, N.Y., native began his playing career at Tottenville High School, and then proceeded to start all 43 games during his career at Wagner College. During his final two seasons at Wagner, the Seahawks posted a 17-3 record and advanced to the NCAA Division III Championships in 1980.
Masella and his wife, Leslie-Ann, reside in Belchertown with their two sons, T.J. (born July 25, 1996) and Jack (born January 12, 1999).
Masella's Collegiate Coaching File
Years School Assignment 1982 Wagner Defensive Ends 1983-1984 Wagner Secondary 1985-1989 U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Defensive Coordinator 1990-1992 Boston University Secondary 1993-1994 Boston University Defensive Coordinator/Secondary 1995 Fairfield Head Coach 1996-1997 Boston University Head Coach 1998 Connecticut Assistant Head Coach/Secondary 1999-2001 Louisiana Tech Defensive Coordinator/Secondary 2002-2003 Massachusetts Defensive Coordinator/Secondary