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UMass hires Matt McCall as men’s basketball coach

03.29.17 at 6:06 pm ET
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UMass has its new basketball coach. (Jim Brown/USA Today Sports)

UMass has its new basketball coach. (Jim Brown/USA Today Sports)

After Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey spurned Massachusetts less than a week ago and had a change of heart just 30 minutes before his introductory press conference, UMass has agreed to terms with Chattanooga head coach Matt McCall, the school announced Wednesday night.

“Matt is a rising star in college basketball coaching who has been a key piece of three successful programs in his career,” UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said in the press release. “He has earned a reputation as a relentless worker, a great teammate and colleague and a confident leader of young men. Matt has worked with some of the most respected coaches and administrators in the country, who loudly sing his praises. Coach McCall’s appointment begins an exciting new chapter for our tradition-rich men’s basketball program at UMass.”

McCall spent two seasons as head coach of the Mocs, taking over for Will Wade after he left to coach Virginia Commonwealth. McCall led Chattanooga to an NCAA tournament appearance in his first season along with winning the Southern Conference regular season and conference championship in 2015-16. The 35-year-old compiled a 48-18 (.727 winning percentage) record in his time with Chattanooga, and was named SoCon coach of the year in his first season.

“My family and I always said it would take something extremely special to move us away from Chattanooga and that’s what we have here at UMass,” McCall said in the release. “The tradition and resources that are in place not only make this one of the best basketball jobs in the Atlantic 10 Conference, but one of the best jobs in the country. We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the UMass family and look forward to building upon the rich tradition that has been established here in the past.”

After graduating from Florida in 2006, McCall was named the director of basketball operations with the team, a position he held for two seasons before being hired as an assistant coach with Florida Atlantic. He spent three seasons with the Owls before returning to his alma mater and serving as an assistant coach under Billy Donovan for four seasons with the Gators.

McCall will take over for Kellogg after the Springfield, Mass. native spent nine seasons in Amherst, posting a 155-137 record (.531 winning percentage) with one trip to the NCAA tournament in 2013. The Minutemen lost 15 of its final 20 games this season after starting the year 10-3 with a nationally-rated recruiting class.

Boston Celtics assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry reportedly emerged as a serious contender to become the Minutemen head coach before and after the team’s debacle with Kelsey. UMass officials hosted Shrewsberry for two interviews with the team before confirming to the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy he was out of the mix to replace Kellogg.

Kellogg was fired on March 9 following UMass’ second round exit in the Atlantic 10 tournament.

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