1998 NCAA Division I-AA Football Champions
When Mark Whipple was hired as the head coach of the Minutemen on Dec. 16, 1997, he talked about winning a national championship. Few people thought that would happen, and almost no one beleived UMass could accomplish the goal in only one season. But by the time the 1998 season concluded, the Minutemen had produced one of the greatest turnarounds in college football history, going from a 2-9 record the year before to a 12-3 mark and the NCAA Division I-AA national title.
The season saw a number of close games for UMass, with nine of the first 13 contests coming down to the final minute or overtime. The Minutemen then posted a dramatic come-from-behind win at Northwestern State in the NCAA semifinals, scoring 20 straight points in the fourth quarter to post a 41-31 victory. In the final game of the season, UMass rolled to a 55-43 win over top-ranked and previously unbeaten Georgia Southern, in a game which was not as close as the final score indicated.
On the way to the national championship, the Minutemen set numerous school records, many of which had stood for decades. Included among the records set were team single season marks for points scored (524), touchdowns (73), total yards (7,074), average yards per play (5.9), passing yards (4,050), completions (306) and first downs (354).
In the end, Whipple and his team, led by senior co-captains Khari Samuel and Kerry Taylor, brought UMass the first national championship in the history of a program which played its first game in 1879. The title was also the first in the history of the top I-AA college football conference in the nation, the Atlantic 10.
Tammy Marshall: 1992 NCAA Vault Champion, 1993 NCAA Floor Exercise Champion
Tammy Marshall became UMassí first NCAA champion in womenís gymnastics when she captured the 1992 NCAA title on vault with a score of 9.8125. A five-time Atlantic 10 champion and three-time NCAA Northeast Regional champion, Marshall was also crowned the 1993 NCAA floor exercise champion, scoring a perfect 10 on the event to secure her place in both the UMass and national record books.
As one of the most celebrated student athletes in school history, Marshall earned GTE/CoSida Academic All-America honors in 1993 in addition to winning a silver medal on the floor exercise at the World University Games.
1982 NCAA Womenís Lacrosse Champions
The 1982 University of Massachusetts womenís lacrosse team finished the season with an undefeated 10-0 record and the first ever NCAA womenís lacrosse national championship. The Minutewomen defeated Division III powerhouse Trenton State 9-6 to capture the championship and give head coach Pam Hixon her first and only national title. Both teams entered the contest with undefeated records, with Massachusetts protecting a 9-0 record and Trenton State boasting a 12-0 mark.
Junior Linda Haytayan and freshman Andrea Muccini paced the Minutewomen, with Haytayan scoring three goals and Muccini adding two. Susan Kosloski, Michelle Boyer, Margie Anderson, and Pam Moryl all added single tallies to round out the scoring for the Minutewomen. UMass overpowered Trenton State on the offensive end of the field, firing 22 shots at the Lady Lion goal. UMass senior goalie Rita Hubnerís stellar play in the net was a deciding factor in the game, allowing only one goal in the entire first half.
1973 AIAW Womenís Gymnastics Champions
On April 21, 1973 in Des Moines, Iowa, the UMass womenís gymnastics team captured its first ever AIAW Intercollegiate Gymnastics National Championship title.
Under the direction of head coach Virginia Evans, the team scored a record-setting 105.70 to emerge from the 17-team field as the national champion. The Minutewomen, who had fallen to Springfield College at the AIAW East Regional, avenged their loss at nationals, where Springfield finished fourth.
In addition to capturing the AIAW title, the team surpassed all previous records and placed four of its members on the All-America team: Margie Combs, Betsy East, Anne Vexler and Jeannine Burger. Combs was the highest individual event finisher for the Minutewomen, claiming second place on uneven bars. In all-around competition, Vexler placed fourth, Burger sixth, and Combs 10th.