A look at the squad ahead of the season-opener versus Boston College on Saturday
Take a look at the new 3-4 defensive scheme under DC Tom Masella.
Defensive coordinator Tom Masella is mic'd up as we spotlight the Minutemen's switch to a 3-4 defense
Tom Masella’s coaching career spans more than 30 years and eight different institutions. He has held head coaching duties at three different schools, Boston University, Central Connecticut and Fordham, with six of his teams winning conference championships when he was on staff.
The 2014 season saw Masella’s return to Amherst as head coach Mark Whipple’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach. Collectively during his time with the Minutemen, his players have earned four first-team all-conference honors and six second and third-team league accolades.
In 2015, under Masella’s guidance seniors Joe Colton, Randall Jette and Trey Dudley-Giles amassed 206 collective tackles. Jette and Dudley-Giles also intercepted six passes for 80 yards.
Prior to his return to Amherst, he served at his alma mater, Wagner, for two seasons (2012, 2013) as associate head coach and offensive coordinator. In 2012, he helped the Seahawks capture the NEC Championship and advance to the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs.
Masella was part of Fordham’s staff from 2006-11. As head coach, he led the Rams to one of the greatest NCAA FCS turnarounds, taking the program from a 3-8 record in 2006 to an 8-4 campaign the following year. His 2007 season was also highlighted by a Patriot League Championship and a berth in the NCAA FCS playoffs.
At the end of 2007, he was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year as well as the AFCA Regional Co-Coach of the Year. Masella was also honored as the Bronx Sportsperson of the Year by the New York Daily News and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award which is presented annually to the NCAA FCS National Coach of the Year. Masella coached in various capacities with the Rams through the 2011 season.
In a two-year stint as head coach at Central Connecticut, Masella guided the Blue Devils to a pair of Northeast Conference Championships in 2004 and 2005 - the school's first-ever football titles.
Masella’s first stretch at Massachusetts came during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. The Minutemen won the 2003 Atlantic 10 Championship while his defense allowed an average of just 22.7 points per game, recovered 18 fumbles and made 27 sacks. That season, UMass finished No. 11 in the Sports Network I-AA poll with a 10-3 record.
Masella spent three seasons at Louisiana Tech where he helped turn the Bulldog defense into one of the nation's top units. With Masella on staff, Louisiana Tech was ranked in the top 25 (1999) and won two Western Athletic Conference Championships (2000, 2001). Additionally, his 2001 defense ranked 11th nationally in interceptions and 13th in turnovers forced.
Masella joined the staff at the University of Connecticut for the 1998 season with the squad advancing to the NCAA I-AA playoffs. He coached the Huskies' secondary and also served as assistant head coach.
The 1990s saw Masella spend seven seasons in two stops at Boston University, including as head coach in 1996 and 1997. From 1990-94, he coached the Terriers' secondary and also served as defensive coordinator in 1993 and 1994.
He began his coaching career at his alma mater, serving the Seahawks in various coaching capacities from 1982 to 1984. In 1985, he took over the defense at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, where he remained until 1989, also holding the role of assistant athletic director and defensive coordinator.
Masella and his wife, Leslie-Ann, have sons, T.J. and Jack.