James Ihedigbo of Amherst latest UMass champion

Last modified: Thursday, March 07, 2013

When James Ihedigbo kissed the Lombardi Trophy Sunday night following the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens safety became the latest in a growing collection of former University of Massachusetts athletes to play on championship teams in the four major professional sports.

Ihedigbo, who made one tackle in the 34-31 win, became the fifth former Minuteman to win the Super Bowl and the first to appear in two Super Bowls.

He joins former teammate Victor Cruz, who won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants last year. Kole Ayi earned a ring as a member of the Patriots’ first Super Bowl winning team in 2002, although he was on injured reserve at the time.

Offensive lineman Bruce Kimball won the Super Bowl with the Redskins in 1984, while linebacker Phil Vandersea got a ring in 1967 with Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl 1.

Ihedigbo’s title comes less than a year after goaltender Jonathan Quick led the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup title. Quick, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, is the only former Minuteman with his name on the Stanley Cup.

Former UMass pitchers Jeff Reardon and Mike Flanagan won World Series titles with the 1987 Minnesota Twins and 1983 Baltimore Orioles, respectively. Reardon earned a save in Game 7 for the Twins.

Julius Erving won an NBA title with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983. Erving won ABA titles in 1973-74 and 1975-76 with the New York Nets. Al Skinner, another former Minuteman, was his teammate in 1975-76.

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 www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.


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