Former Florida Gator men’s Basketball assistant Matt McCall was named the head coach at the University of Massachsetts on Wednesday. McCall previously worked as the director of basketball operations for the Gators between 2006-2008 and as an assistant during the 2011-2015 seasons. In April 2015, McCall left Gainesville to become the coach of the UT-Chattanooga Mocs; in his two year coaching stint, he led them to a 48-18 record and an NCAA Tournament bid. Now he heads to Amherst to try to turn around a struggling program.
— UMass Basketball (@UMassBasketball) March 30, 2017
Historically, the UMASS Minutemen have been a very good basketball school boasting some of basketball’s most influential coaches and players. Julius Erving, Marcus Camby, and Rick Pitino are just a few of the names that define UMass’s basketball program. John Calipari, Kentucky’s head coach, even got his first head coaching job here, leading the Minutemen to a Final Four back in 1996 (later vacated). Times have been rough recently as the Minutemen have only been to the NCAA Tournament twice in the last 21 seasons.
Matt McCall will be taking the reigns from David Kellogg; in his nine year tenure, the Minutemen had a record of 155-137, one NCAA Tournament appearance, and no conference championships. With this hire UMASS has made it clear they want a change in their program’s direction.
Hopes of McCall
— Sam The Minuteman (@Sam_Minuteman) March 30, 2017
McCall believes this is an excellent coaching opportunity. He strongly believes that UMASS has the resources to be able to regularly compete for NCAA Tournament bids. Though, as a first year head coach, his first priority is establishing a positive relationship with the current players at UMASS and to see if they will fit his program. He will look to improve on last year’s record (15-18, 4-14 Atlantic-10).
Luckily, McCall inherits a fairly experienced group. He looks to return all of last season’s starters, with three of them averaging over 10 points a game.
Amherst looks towards Matt McCall to restore their once successful program, a legacy he is proud to be associated with. We will see how the off-season is used as Massachusetts looks for their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2013-14 season.