State of the Progam

Ringing the Bell on a new era of UM Football.
stevemaz
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Re: State of the Progam

Post by stevemaz » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:17 am

in regards to where the 5 a10 teams are going.. I think there will be a new conference forming after AAC loses the likes of Houston, UCF, USF, Cincy/Memphis to Big 12 after Big 12 loses TX/OK/others. Or the 5 A10s become a part of a new AAC that includes FB only schools such as Navy, UConn, Army, Liberty, and who knows who.. Something is going to happen though.

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InnervisionsUMASS
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Re: State of the Progam

Post by InnervisionsUMASS » Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:36 am

This board would lose it's mind if we ended up in a conference with Liberty :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Stop waiting for UMass to do something big and help UMass do something big. - Shades

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Quann
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Re: State of the Progam

Post by Quann » Thu Jan 02, 2020 1:37 pm

^^^^^
That would be hilarious!

The goal should be creating a program that can compete against almost anyone, .500 or better seasons regularly and bowls will be a byproduct of that success. That will lead to better game day atmosphere for all games and make the whole football product a hell of a lot more interesting.

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Re: State of the Progam

Post by harbo » Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:01 pm

InnervisionsUMASS wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:36 am
This board would lose it's mind if we ended up in a conference with Liberty :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
:lol: :lol:

What if the MAC established an eastern division with Liberty, Temple, UConn, UMass, and ?????

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InnervisionsUMASS
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Re: State of the Progam

Post by InnervisionsUMASS » Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:05 pm

harbo wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:01 pm
InnervisionsUMASS wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:36 am
This board would lose it's mind if we ended up in a conference with Liberty :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
:lol: :lol:

What if the MAC established an eastern division with Liberty, Temple, UConn, UMass, and ?????

Please refer to the post you quoted. :wink: :lol:
Stop waiting for UMass to do something big and help UMass do something big. - Shades

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InnervisionsUMASS
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Re: State of the Progam

Post by InnervisionsUMASS » Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:50 pm

Check your email, folks. A long email went out from Ryan Bamford on the state of the program.
Stop waiting for UMass to do something big and help UMass do something big. - Shades

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SoxFan33
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Re: State of the Progam

Post by SoxFan33 » Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:36 pm

Can you post it please?

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Re: State of the Progam

Post by Floyd » Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:45 pm

InnervisionsUMASS wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:50 pm
Check your email, folks. A long email went out from Ryan Bamford on the state of the program.
Thats a 2 beer email
The E sho, best show in town

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m626t
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Re: State of the Progam

Post by m626t » Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:53 pm

^
2 beers and bag of fried pork rinds
All due respect, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart, I'm gonna pass.

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Re: State of the Progam

Post by Berkman » Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:06 pm

I am not on his email list so can someone please forward it to me?

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Re: State of the Progam

Post by dennisdent » Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:09 pm

InnervisionsUMASS wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:50 pm
Check your email, folks. A long email went out from Ryan Bamford on the state of the program.
I appreciate the effort by Bamford, but to me that email reeks, REEKS, of desperation! I guess Bell is not able to do this himself, like most head coaches do at the high school and college level do at the end of a season. We have yet to hear Bell explain what went right/wrong last season and explain his decisions on QB/offense game planning and overall game management.

"Trending up...."Bamford enjoyed too much eggnog this holiday season.

Enjoy the email below:


Dear dennisdent :D,



First, Happy New Year from the flagship! I hope the holiday season was peaceful and joyous for you and your loved ones.



As we begin 2020, I thought it would be timely to share an extensive review and strategic vision for our football program. Since Head Coach Walt Bell’s arrival in December of 2018, we have undertaken a comprehensive study of our program, the FBS landscape, and how to build a winning team that instills pride in all who follow UMass. The 2019 season has created increased media attention and questions from various stakeholders about the future of football at the flagship. This email provides detail on the current state of our program and our strategy to realize competitive success in the near future.



Despite our one-win season this past fall, our football program is undoubtedly trending up. Over the last year we have had tremendous success in the classroom, in facility upgrades, in fundraising, and most recently, in recruiting. Our competitive year did not meet our high standards for success, but it was not a surprise given the overhaul we have undertaken since the conclusion of the 2018 season.



In order to be fully transparent and give our stakeholders a feel for our program-building process, I thought there was great benefit to being exhaustive in this email. As such, this email is long! However, it should provide good perspective on where we have been, where we currently live and where we plan to go with your help, support and investment.



When I arrived at UMass in April of 2015, my pledge to Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy regarding football was quite simple. In no particular order, I told him we would focus on the following “measureables” in our program:

Meet Academic Obligations. We would recruit student-athletes who will compete in the classroom and earn a degree in four years or less from our highly ranked university. Accordingly, our goal was to improve our multi-year average for the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR), keeping us eligible for bowl opportunities.
Fiscal Responsibility. We would reduce the institutional subsidy for football by monitoring spending, maximizing existing profit streams and driving new revenues to the program.
Positively represent UMass in the community. We would ask our students to be engaged and respectful members of the community through service and positive conduct.
Generate a competitive bowl-eligible team on an annual basis. We would build reasonable schedules as a new Independent program and endeavor to win at least six games per year and secure long-term bowl opportunities for our program.
Five years later, I can report that we are meeting three of these four objectives. Since Coach Bell’s arrival last December, we have collectively organized a more sustainable foundation to accomplish all four goals very soon.



Here are details on our progress in the four aforementioned areas:



Academic Success and Community Service



Highlights in the classroom and community since Coach Bell’s arrival:

The 2019 spring term team GPA was our highest since 2014.
The 2019 summer term team GPA was the highest we have recorded as an FBS program (since 2012).
The 2018-19 single-year NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) of 950 was our highest ever recorded as a football program.
The team has done more volunteer work in the community over the last year than in the three previous years combined.
Fiscal Responsibility



Since 2014, the football operating budget has grown by nearly 20%, from $7.46M to $8.8M (2019), with increased/additional investments in student scholarships, coach/staff salaries, recruiting, team travel and equipment. During that same period, the annual subsidy coming from university general operating funds (GOF) to support the football program has been reduced by $265,000 from $2.16M to $1.895M. In short, our football operating budget has grown but the university spend on football has gone down due to new or increased revenues from external areas (e.g. media rights, game guarantees, NCAA revenues, fundraising).



We recently studied the financial impact of our 2011 move from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and the numbers are favorable. In FY 2012 (2011 season), $4.9M was spent on the football program from GOF and student fees combined. This was our last season as an FCS program. In FY 2019 (2018 season) $4.225M was spent on the football program from GOF and student fees combined. This was our seventh year as an FBS program.



One myth that has been cited by the public is the supposed negative financial impact football at UMass has on the taxpayers of the Commonwealth. The belief that football is a drain on state funds is wholly inaccurate. In short, the total University Fiscal Year 2019 Budget was approximately $1.3 Billion and roughly 22% of university revenue comes from the state (approximately $286M). In 2019-20, less than $2.0M of GOF from the $1.3B university budget will support football operating expenses.



Competitive Results



When Coach Bell arrived a year ago, we agreed to make adjustments that had the potential to limit our short-term gains but would set us up for success in the long-term. In short, we were not operating in a fashion that was going to allow for sustained success in all the important areas.



Accordingly, major areas of the program were overhauled before and upon Coach Bell’s arrival. Roster attrition has been part of this transformation. Of particular note, I made a tough decision at the end of the fall 2018 term to remove seven scholarship student-athletes from our program, including five who were projected starters in 2019. I made this decision to ensure that we would meet our goals for academic success and positive community impact. Undoubtedly, roster attrition impacted our ability to compete at a high level this season. Depth was an issue all year, which we fully expected. We played a number of younger players and a handful of walk-ons took significant snaps as well. Our last game of the season against BYU was played with 48 healthy and eligible scholarship players. As we continue to build our program under strict NCAA recruiting rules regarding initial counters, we plan to be near the maximum 85 scholarships in the next 2-3 years.



During spring practice in 2019, Coach Bell and I discussed our strategy for year one given the expected composition of our roster. I affirmed Coach Bell’s belief that our best path forward was to instill a style of play in year one that will position us for success in future years. A lack of depth at some positions, and talent not ideally suited to our new style of play at other positions, produced growing pains this past season. However, this allowed our student-athletes to gain valuable experience in a new system, playing a style of football that will be our identity in future years. I have watched so many FBS programs, with new head coaches and the pressure of immediate success, try to patch together early victories often at the expense of long-term gains. We decided to do the opposite – taking our lumps early and investing in a process that will yield more wins in future years.



I know our fan base has heard us preach patience before. To some it is a tired request, I understand. However, we ask for your continued fortitude as we build this program under new leadership. We are controlling variables for success in ways we have not done in the past. This strategy will lead to achievement on and off the field.

Our Vision for FBS Success



As we enter the end of our first decade as an FBS program, including the last four years as an FBS Independent, we have thoroughly studied our program-specific opportunities and the path taken by successful peer programs. Our thesis for success involves intense focus on four main areas: Student-Athlete Recruitment, Student-Athlete Development, Investments in Infrastructure, and Scheduling/Visibility.



Here are the ways we are advancing our program in these areas:



Recruiting Talent and Depth



One of the real strengths of our football staff is their ability to recruit prospective student-athletes. From the time they arrived on campus, Coach Bell and his staff have displayed a vision and plan for recruiting that includes well-structured strategies for finding talent, building strong, genuine relationships and converting those connections to commitments during NCAA signing periods. Our greatest proof positive is in the results for the 2020 recruiting class. Presently rated as our most talented class in the history of the program, we still have the opportunity to sign 4-6 more student-athletes in February or later this spring. With over 20 talented players already signed, we have met on-field positional needs and won battles against FBS peers (including Power 5 schools) on a number of high-impact student-athletes.



It has been particularly impressive to watch our staff build a robust recruiting plan in December of 2018 and execute it with success over the last 12 months in spite of a one win first season. Every layer of the process has been covered in tremendous detail, including how we can win recruiting battles in the Commonwealth and build important depth in years 1-3 with preferred walk-ons who might have scholarship offers to FCS or lower division schools. The time spent by Coach Bell and his staff, along with the financial commitment we have made to various areas of our recruiting plan, will continue to yield positive results in future classes.



Student-Athlete Development



To build a winning football program that sustains success, we not only have to recruit well but also invest heavily in development when our student-athletes arrive on campus. From a physical growth standpoint, we have two outstanding strength and conditioning coaches in Matt Shadeed and Joel Reinhardt. Matt and Joel are great teachers and positive motivators. Under their direction in the weight room, we have witnessed personal records for strength and better team dynamics. Additionally, we have invested heavily in nutrition and natural supplements for our players, doubling our budget in one year to just under $100,000 annually.



We are also doing more for our young men off the field to prepare them for life after UMass. We have increased our full-time academic staff and the number of available tutors for football student-athletes each of the last two years. In addition, we have invested in weekly life-skills programming during the summer academic terms, in areas focused on career planning, resiliency, and financial literacy, to name a few.



Investments in Infrastructure



We have made a number of upgrades to our physical plant and human resources to support our growing FBS program. In the last five years, every space used by our football student-athletes, coaches and/or staff is brand new or recently renovated. In the last two years alone, we have completed the following projects:

McGuirk Alumni Stadium Upgrades (new scoreboard, bathrooms, south endzone plaza, ADA upgrades)
New Indoor Turf Practice Facility (used mid-October – mid-April)
Renovated DiTommaso Weight Room (new equipment, turf, nutrition fueling station)
New branding in Martin Jacobson Football Performance Center (highlighting program history in hospitality and team spaces)
Renovated Foote Academic Success Center (new academic equipment, learning spaces, offices)
Since Coach Bell’s arrival, we have also increased our funding for coaching staff salaries and have added full-time staff in recruiting/player personnel, team operations and offensive/defensive quality control. Investing in our human resources will continue to be a high priority for our program moving forward.



From an operational standpoint, our totally reimagined recruiting plan carried a needed increase to our recruiting budget. Increased annual funding for nutrition and supplements has also proven to be a great investment that will continue.



Increased Fundraising



In order to meet the level of investment needed to build a winning FBS program, we have relied heavily on gifts to our football fundraising arm, the Gridiron Club. The Gridiron Club works cohesively with the athletic department fundraising staff to achieve fundraising and special event success, which directly impact the football program. In 2018-19, the Gridiron Club posted an all-time record fundraising cash total of over $250,000. A large portion of that total was raised after Coach Bell was hired. I am pleased to report that as of January 1, 2020, the Gridiron Club is almost 40% ahead of the year-to-date total for last year. In short, we are on pace for another banner year.



It is important to note that major donations to the university and athletics department have been secured because of our football program. In addition to the annual dollars raised already this year, the program recently received a $250,000 donation from an UMass alumnus couple with no previous connection to the football program. The gift was made after spending time with Coach Bell on a number of occasions since his appointment 13 months ago. The generous gift will fund improvements to the strength and conditioning space in the Martin Jacobson Football Performance Center, including a new nutrition fueling station. As we have highlighted here, we have seen other major contributions over the last two years support key athletics department projects including: $5.58M from Marty Jacobson ‘68 in 2018 to fund stadium upgrades and our new turf indoor practice facility; $500,000 from Paul '87 and David Manganaro in 2018 to install a new videoboard at McGuirk Alumni Stadium; and $250,000 from football alum Bob Foote ‘62, and his wife Marianne ’77, in 2018 to fully renovate the Academic Success Center in the Boyden Building, which has positively impacted all 650 UMass student-athletes.



I would like to formally acknowledge and thank members of the Gridiron Board for their hard work, passion and unwavering support of UMass Football. Our sincere appreciation to our Gridiron leadership team consisting of current President Bill DeFlavio '72, Vice President Tom Mullen '74 and past-Presidents Paul Manganaro and Frank DiTommaso '81. Other Gridiron board members include Kole Ayi '01, Cliff Bolden '00, Demo Drougas '85, Kristin Kanter '07, Logan Laurent '18, Anne Manning '87, Khari Mitchell '99 and Darryl Thomas '97.



Scheduling



I am pleased to announce that we have secured scheduling agreements that have us at full 12 game schedules through the 2024 season. As of today, not all of the games have been announced but you can see the latest versions of future schedules here. As promised, schedules in the 2020s combine a mix of opponents from Power 5 and Group of 5 conferences, and the FCS. We have been strategic in building these schedules to achieve some basic principles: competitive growth against peer Group of 5 programs, competition in areas of the country where our coaches recruit, and the development of rivalries against regional opponents (see UConn and Army).



We have also worked tirelessly the last few years building bowl and television partner relationships in preparation for the first time our Minutemen are bowl eligible. In the near future, we anticipate sharing details on firm bowl partnerships that will give us post-season opportunities through 2025.



Television and Streaming Visibility

After becoming an Independent program in 2016, we have aggressively positioned ourselves regionally and nationally through multi-year television and streaming agreements. Our regional sports network package with NESN, and national streaming agreement with Flo Sports, provide great reach for our six home games each year. In addition, these deals allow us to drive new revenue to the football program through our media rights holder Learfield/IMG. Further, we have leveraged our football content to generate 20-25 men’s basketball, women’s basketball, ice hockey broadcasts on NESN, at no cost to UMass. Since 2016, the combined broadcast and streaming package for these four sports has generated more visibility for UMass Athletics than at any time in the history of the department.



In conclusion, we have reimagined important programmatic areas over this past year, something that was needed to achieve ultimate success. Our progress in these areas has me extremely bullish about our future, especially given the people who are driving results for this program – our coaches, support staff and student-athletes. Given our renewed plan and increased level of investment, I urge you to stay committed in your support for football at the flagship. With your investment in our Minutemen, victory on and off the field is squarely in our sights.



Go UMass!

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Steve81
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Re: State of the Progam

Post by Steve81 » Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:50 pm

Liked the email and wanted to wait for the Mass Giving Days in April.
Did a gift now to show support and will do more in the Spring.

TruBluMaroon
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Re: State of the Progam

Post by TruBluMaroon » Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:24 pm

^ Could someone or group identity the players RB references as having been removed from the program?
After reading, I have greatly reduced my brain function😁

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Quann
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Re: State of the Progam

Post by Quann » Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:56 am

Great email by Bamford. I doubt there are a lot of athletic directors that peel back the curtain like he just did. Imagine if the globe was this thorough in their research? I still disagree with the on field direction of the program but I love what he’s doing overall with academics, fundraising, scheduling, etc. Let’s hope Walt is the right guy. Overall, Bamford is a thoughtful well spoken guy and we are lucky to have him at the athletic department helm.

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Re: State of the Progam

Post by stevemaz » Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:53 am

I have zero doubt that we are finally on the right path. a 32K seat stadium will one day be sold out..

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