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
A familiar face both on the UMass sideline and across from it, veteran Tom Masella rejoins the Minutemen in 2014 to take over as defensive coordinator. Masella's coaching career spans over thirty years and nine different institutions, including a previous stint at Massachusetts as defensive coordinator under Whipple in 2002 and 2003. He has held head coaching duties at four different schools: Fairfield, Boston University, Central Connecticut, and Fordham with a record of 44-66 overall.
Masella spent his first tenure in Amherst helping the Minutemen to a resurgence in the Atlantic 10. In 2003, Masella's defense allowed an average of 22.7 points per game, recovered 18 fumbles, and made 27 sacks. That season, UMass finished with the 11th position in the Sports Network I-AA poll and a 10-3 record. Collectively between two seasons with the Minutemen, three of his players were named First-Team All-Atlantic 10. Four more received second and third-team all-conference honors.
A 1981 graduate of Wagner College, Masella began his coaching career at his alma mater. He served the Seahawks in varying coaching capacities from 1982 to 1984. In 1985, he took over the defense at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, where he remained until 1989, also holding the role of assistant athletic director.
The 1990s saw Masella spend seven seasons in two stops at Boston University including as head coach in 1996 and 1997. From 1990-1994 he coached the Terriers' secondary and also served as defensive coordinator in 1993 and 1994. Between his BU stints, Masella was the head coach at Fairfield University, preparing the Stags for their first season of competition at the NCAA Division I-AA level.
After his time in Boston, Masella moved to the University of Connecticut for the 1998 season where he worked alongside current UMass Strength & Conditioning Coach Mike Golden. Masella coached the Huskies' secondary and also served as assistant head coach.
After his season in Storrs, Masella moved south to Louisiana Tech where he helped turn the Bulldog defense into one of the nation's top units. His 2001 defense ranked 11th nationally in interceptions and 13th in turnovers forced en route to the Western Athletic Conference Championship.
A two year stint as head coach at Central Connecticut was next with Masella helping the Blue Devils to a pair of NEC Championships in 2004 and 2005 - the school's first-ever football championships.
In 2007, as head coach at Fordham, Masella led the Rams to one of the greatest NCAA FCS turnarounds, taking that program from a 3-8 record in 2006 to an 8-4 campaign the following year. His 2007 season was also marked in part by a Patriot League championship and a berth in the NCAA FCS playoffs which ended with a loss at UMass in the first round.
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.
Following Fordham, the Staten Island native, returned for two seasons as the associate head coach and offensive coordinator at Wagner. In 2012, he helped the Seahawks capture the NEC Championship and advance to the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs.
Masella resides with his wife, Leslie-Ann. The couple has two children, T.J. (born July 25, 1996) and Jack (born January 12, 1999).
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