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UMass AD Ryan Bamford said discussing Derek Kellogg’s future is premature

  • UMass coach Derek Kellogg in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Amherst. AP

  • RYAN BAMFORD



@MattVautourDHG
Thursday, February 16, 2017

UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said he’s not making any decisions about coach Derek Kellogg’s future until after the men’s basketball season.

“Like I’ve said with all of our coaches. We got to the end of the year. It’s premature with any of our sports to make a public comment until the final grades are in. That’s in every coaching situation,” he said. “We still have some basketball left. I’m staying positive. I know Derek is working hard. At the end of the year we’ll sit down and talk about the season that was and dissect it at that point.

“We still have the A-10 Tournament and a lot of things ahead of us,” he added. “We have proven we can beat the best team in the league in Dayton. Derek is our head coach. I’m firmly behind him right now. He knows that. We’re trying to be figure out ways to be better for this season and finish the year on a strong note.”

Kellogg said he’s not thinking about his job status.

“I block all that stuff out during the season,” he said. “I’m just working on making my team better.”

UMass has five regular season games remaining followed by the Atlantic 10 Tournament. At 13-13, if the Minutemen finish at or above .500, an invitation to a lower postseason tournament is possible.

The Minutemen, who started the season 10-3, have struggled in conference play at 3-10, capped by Wednesday’s 96-66 loss to last-place Duquesne.

Kellogg, 43, is in his ninth season coaching at UMass. He has a record of 153-132. He led the Minutemen to their first NCAA Tournament since 1998 in 2014, but missed the postseason each of the last two seasons. Kellogg received accolades heading into this season for bringing in the program’s highest ranked recruiting class since the early 1990s.

The Springfield native has two seasons remaining on contract that pays over $1 million annually. Because schools structure coaches contracts differently (and many private schools don’t report salaries at all), it’s unclear where Kellogg, who is the highest paid state employee in Massachusetts, ranks among Division I coaches. His overall compensation is not in the top 80 nationally.

On Thursday, North Carolina State confirmed reports that Mark Gottfried would be dismissed after the season. Most coaching decisions come following the regular season.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage