Massachusetts Saint Louis Basketball

UMass head coach Matt McCall is one of The Athletic’s 40 under 40 in college basketball.

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University of Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Matt McCall finds himself in pretty rarefied air this week. McCall, now in his fourth season in Amherst, is listed by The Athletic as one of college basketball’s 40 under 40.

The sports website published an article earlier in the week that includes McCall as one of 10 head coaches under age 40 to watch.

The list includes head and assistant coaches, agents, administrators and members of the media.

McCall is one of two coaches in the Atlantic 10 Conference on this list. The other head coach is George Washington’s Jamion Christian, who like McCall, is 38.

Seven of the 10 head coaches on the list come from schools that are not considered part of the so-called Power 5 group of conferences. The only P-5 coaches on the list are Minnesota’s Richard Pitino, Oklahoma State’s Mike Boynton and LSU’s Will Wade.

This is what The Athletic had to say about McCall.

“It helps to have highly successful mentors, and McCall had one of the best in Billy Donovan. When McCall was a student at Florida, where his father was a three-time letter winner in football, he was a manager on Donovan’s teams, and he started his career as the Gators’ director of basketball operations. After spending three years as an assistant at Florida Atlantic, McCall returned to Gainesville and worked as an assistant for four more seasons. In 2015 he became the head coach at Chattanooga, where he was named the Southern Conference’s coach of the year after leading the Mocs to a league championship in his first season. McCall is now entering his fourth season at UMass, and if the Minutemen, who were the seventh-youngest team in the country last season, show the improvement that many expect, McCall will find himself with some attractive options in the near future.”

As young as UMass was last year, this year’s team might even be younger. Of the 14 players on the roster, 11 of them are either freshmen, redshirt freshmen or sophomores. Carl Pierre is a four-year veteran and the only senior on the roster. Dibaji Walker is a junior, while first-year player Mark Gasperini is a graduate transfer, after having played four years at American of the Patriot League.

Gasperini is one of six scholarship players who has never played a game at UMass. Four of them are freshmen and one, sophomore Noah Fernandes, transferred to UMass from Wichita State of the American Athletic Conference.

Also listed among the 10 head coaches is Quinnipiac’s Baker Dunleavy. Dunleavy, 38, is the son of former NBA player and coach Mike Dunleavy, and the Quinnipiac coach has former Williams College assistant Shaun Morris on his staff.

The youngest head coach among the 10 is 35-year old Todd Golden, who is the head coach at the University of San Francisco.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com or

413-496-6253.

Sportswriter-Columnist

Howard Herman is a sports columnist at The Berkshire Eagle. The dean of full-time sportswriters in Western Mass., he has been with the Eagle since 1988, and is a member of the New England Baseball and Basketball Hall of Fame.


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