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Former Minuteman Lou Roe excited to join Derek Kellogg's staff at UMass



Last modified: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
It's been 21 years since Lou Roe moved from his home in Atlantic City, N.J., to Amherst to start a basketball career.

Since then Roe became one of the most beloved players ever at the University of Massachusetts and he played professionally for 18 teams in six countries over 17 years. In early September, Roe, now 40, will make the drive north again, this time to start a coaching career and finish his bachelor's degree.

He is excited to return to UMass where he will be an administrative assistant to coach Derek Kellogg, his former teammate during the 1990s.

"To be able to move into the next phase of my life and stay in basketball, is a blessing. I'm grateful for the opportunity," Roe said Tuesday.

Roe visited the campus last year where he watched the Minutemen's win over Davidson on Dec. 22 and was overwhelmed by the response as the crowd gave him an ovation.

"The sensation I had gave me goose bumps. To be back there with my children and having them see where I started was one of the nicest feelings anyone can have," he said. "The reception made me feel like I made the right choice to come back."

Like most people trying to break into coaching, Roe will start his career in an administrative role. NCAA rules will prevent him from having an on-court coaching presence during practice. Still he believes that he can help some of the younger players acclimate to college.

"When you're a young guy just beginning your life, you have a lot of things going on in your head," Roe said. "I'm coming back to share some of the experience I've accumulated over the years in hopes of turning another young kid's life around for the better. I know what some of those kids are going through. Not all of them come from affluent backgrounds or happy homes.

"Sometimes guys get thrust into a situation because of their athletic ability and they have so much room to grow in other areas," he added. "It can be overwhelming. I think I have a lot of offer the kids to first adjust and then becoming everything they always dreamed of."

Roe said he will be proud to finish his degree. It will be done under the UMass' University Without Walls program.

"I'm excited about that. I made a promise to my parents and myself before I graduated high school to get my degree," he said. "I want to be able to fulfill my promise and be able to look in my children's eyes and tell them I graduated from a prestigious university."

Roe said he doesn't want Kellogg to give him any preferential treatment because of their longtime friendship.

"It's comfortable because I know the person I'm about to work for," Roe said. "However I understand this is a business that we're into and it depends on our success. I'm coming aboard to assist and do what I need to do to make this machine work.

"I'm going to do what is asked of me, learn and eventually create some opportunities later down the line," he added. "Derek is going to get a guy that's committed to the cause to working for the university. I'm going to come in and show that I'm worthy of the position I was granted and I'm going to do nothing but work hard."

Kellogg joked that he'll have an administrative assistant who is more popular with the fans than the head coach, adding that he will be as excited as the fans to have his old friend around.

"He'll be the biggest fan favorite, including the head coach," Kellogg said. "They're planning to use his him for some speaking engagements for the marketing department. I think he'll be used in a lot of positive ways,

"I'm just excited to have Lou around," he added. "We had some great times as players and friends. I'll be excited to have him on our pregame walks around campus and to have him around our team. I'm excited to get to spend some real time with him."

Kellogg said he hopes Roe is not the last former player to get involved with his program.

"If it works out well with Lou, I'd like to see some other former players come back to finish up school and be part of the program," Kellogg said. "I'd like to do it with Donta Bright down the line to have him finish up his degree and get involved with the coaching profession. I think he's got a great mind for the game and a great way with the kids.

"It's important for them to get their degrees," he continued. "They need it to be college coaches or to further their professional lives."

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at http://www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.