Teammates, community show support for Derrick Gordon on Twitter

Massachusetts men’s basketball player Derrick Gordon came out as the first openly gay men’s Division I college basketball player on Wednesday morning. People within and outside the UMass community took to Twitter to show their support for Gordon.

Continue reading

UMass men’s basketball guard Derrick Gordon comes out as first openly gay Division I men’s basketball player

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Massachusetts men’s basketball player Derrick Gordon came out as the first openly gay Division I men’s basketball player in a story on Outsports.com on Wednesday morning after telling his teammates in a meeting a week earlier.

Gordon said in the interview with Outsports that he gained confidence to come out when Jason Collins made his announcement last summer, but was taken back by the lack of willingness of other gay athletes to come out following Collins’s announcement.

“Just waiting for that next college basketball player to come out, just never happened,” he said in the interview with Outsport’s Cyd Zeigler.

“I know what it’s like to cry yourself to sleep, or have a girlfriend, that’s really not your girlfriend just to try to impress your friends,” Gordon said. “I know what all that is like and nobody should live like that. That’s a fake way of living and I’m not a fake person. I want to be real with myself.”

“I have the most profound respect for Derrick and the decision he has made to come out publicly. He is a model student, a terrific competitor, but most importantly, he is a wonderful human being,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said in a news release. “We know his decision weighed heavily on him for some time, but as a coaching staff, a team and a family, we stressed to him that we support him in every way possible. Derrick is a first-class representative of this University and this program since he joined us and we are all very proud of him.” 

“UMass Athletics is proud to have Derrick Gordon as a member of our athletic family and honor his courage and openness as a gay student-athlete UMass Athletics is committed to creating a welcoming climate where every student-athlete, coach and staff member can be true to themselves as they pursue their athletic, academic and professional goals,” Athletic Director John McCutcheon said in the release.

“I truly admire Derrick Gordon for making the courageous decision to come out publicly,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in the release. “Derrick is a superb student-athlete who represents our campus with distinction. The poise and confidence with which he has shared his personal story embody our campus’s shared values of respect, inclusion and diversity.”

Stay with the Collegian for more coverage throughout the day.

Patrick Strohecker can be reached at pstrohec@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @P_Strohecker.

Goaltender Mac Haight cut by UMass hockey team

Nicole Evangelsita/Daily Collegian

Nicole Evangelsita/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts hockey team has begun the process of making room for its future.

The Collegian confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that goaltender Mac Haight was cut by the Minutemen on Monday in what appears to be a depth move.

Haight, who spent most of the season as the team’s third string goalie behind Steve Mastalerz and Alex Wakaluk, appeared in four games for UMass in 2013-14, including a pair of starts against Boston College on Nov. 14 and 15. The freshman made his name known around Amherst with two strong performances against the Eagles — who will appear in the Frozen Four on Thursday — making a combined 57 saves and allowing just four goals on consecutive nights while Mastalerz was sidelined with an injury.

Haight finished the season with a 3.43 goals against average and .892 save percentage. Continue reading

Report: Former Catholic Memorial standout Liam Coughlin decommits from UMass, commits to BU

The Massachusetts hockey team has lost another highly anticipated recruit this offseason as former Catholic Memorial standout Liam Coughlin has decommitted from the program and has chosen to commit to Boston University, according to multiple reports Tuesday afternoon.

Coughlin committed to UMass in October, but, according to Mike McMahon of College Hockey News, chose to decommit about three weeks ago. The 19-year-old South Boston native will join BU this fall.

Coughlin is the second recruit to decommit from UMass after Jake Wahlin, brother of Minutemen freshman Brandon Wahlin, backed out of his commitment two weeks ago.

A 6-foot-3, 185-pound forward, Coughlin scored 45 points on 18 goals and 27 assists with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers last season.

The Daily Free Press first reported the news via Twitter.

Nick Canelas can be reached at ncanelas@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @NickCanelas.

UMass football to leave MAC after 2015 season

Maria Uminski/Daily Collegian

Maria Uminski/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts football team will leave the Mid-American Conference following the 2015 season, the team announced on Wednesday.

The University elected to leave the MAC after the conference exercised a contract clause that gave UMass the choice between becoming a full member of the MAC in all sports or leave the conference after two more years as a football-only member, according to a news release.

According to ESPN, UMass was offered full membership to the MAC last month and ultimately declined. The Minutemen have been football-only members since its move to Football Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The University has already begun conducting a study of its future options with Carr Sports Consulting — the same firm that assisted in the coaching search that led to the hiring of Mark Whipple — according to the news release.

“While the report is not complete,” Athletic Director John McCutcheon said in the release, “we believe full membership for all sports in the MAC is not a good fit for us. Because most of the MAC schools are in the Midwest, the additional travel would strain our athletic budget and pose considerable time management challenges for our student athletes. We are confident that, within the next two years, we will find a more suitable conference for our FBS football program.”

Continue reading

NCAA Tournament: No. 6 UMass faces No. 11 Tennessee

Taylor C. Snow/ Daily Collegian

Taylor C. Snow/ Daily Collegian

MASSACHUSETTS MINUTEMEN (24-8, 10-6 ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE) vs. TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (22-12, 11-7 SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE) 

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Massachusetts men’s basketball team hits the PNC Arena floor at 2:45 p.m. today, facing Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It’s the first time the Minutemen appear in the final field of 68 in 16 years and the team’s first game since losing to George Washington 85-77 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament. UMass faces a Volunteer team which battled back to knock off Iowa in overtime on Wednesday, topping the Hawkeyes 78-65 in overtime of the first round play-in match up.

Game Notes

  • Tennessee enters the contest on a tear. Over their last nine games, the Volunteers are 7-2 and those seven wins have come with an average margin of victory of 21. Against Iowa, Tennessee didn’t trail until the final three minutes of the game, falling behind by as many as 12 points throughout. But the Volunteers rallied behind 20 points from Jordan McRae and 16 points from Jarnell Stokes.
  • UMass isn’t nearly as hot as Tennessee. The Minutemen are 8-7 over their last 15 games and didn’t string together a strong performance in Brooklyn, N.Y. just a week ago. Of course, all of the built up apprehension can ease away with a strong performance in Raleigh. UMass’ most impressive stretch of performances this season came in its out-of-conference schedule, going 13-1 against non-conference opponents.  Continue reading

Derek Kellogg on Felger and Mazz: ‘I thought we’d be somewhere from a six to an eight (seed)’

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger and Mazz Show on Monday afternoon to discuss his team’s selection to the NCAA Tournament with Tony Massarotti and Marc Bertrand.

Kellogg was asked a variety of topics, ranging from his reaction to hearing UMass called as a six seed to his team’s recent play heading into the tournament. Most pundits pegged the Minutemen closer to an eight or nine seed in the days leading up to Selection Sunday, but Kellogg wasn’t completely caught off guard with the higher seed.

“It’s not that much difference in reality,” Kellogg said. “If you take the whole body of work of what we were able to accomplish over the season, I thought we’d be somewhere from a six to an eight. … All of a sudden you’re looking at our schedule and every other game is against an NCAA Tournament team. It’s one of those things where you can’t pick and choose when you want to use the resume.”

Kellogg’s advocated on behalf of the strength of the Atlantic 10 Conference all season. Recently, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski sided against six schools from the conference making the NCAA Tournament, noting that they wouldn’t fare as strongly if subjected to the “meat grinder” that is the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule. Kellogg  wasn’t surprised that Krzyzewski would defend his own conference. Continue reading

By Mark Chiarelli Posted in Misc.