UMass hires alum Matt Reynolds as next baseball coach

  • New UMass baseball coach Matt Reynolds. COURTESY WASHINGTON COLLEGE

  • Former UMass infielder Matt Reynolds, talks with then-head coach Mike Stone during a 2004 game. Reynolds will replace Stone, who retired after the 2017 season. COURTESY UMass ATHLETICS

  • Matt Reynolds, shown here coaching Division III Washington College, was officially named UMass’ new baseball coach Friday. COURTESY WASHINGTON COLLEGE

Friday, May 26, 2017

The idea of becoming the head coach at UMass where he’d been a player and an assistant coach would have appealed to Matt Reynolds anytime the job opened.

But Reynolds said longtime coach Mike Stone’s retirement came at the perfect point in his career.

“The opportunity could not have come at a better time,” said the 35-year-old former Minuteman infielder. “It’s something I’m absolutely ready to take on.”

The South Boston native played two seasons (2003-04) for Stone after transferring from Maine. He hit .293 with seven home runs and 39 RBIs as a senior. He was an assistant for the Minutemen from 2005-07.

He spent the next seven years as an assistant at Navy before becoming the head coach of Washington College in Maryland, where he was 60-50-1 in the last three seasons.

Reynolds thought his love of UMass and the program distinguished him among the candidates.

“Obviously being a double graduate of UMass, it has a special place in my heart,” said Reynolds, who earned his master’s at UMass as an assistant coach. “I’m hoping the difference-maker was that I was able to display the passion I have for the place and how much it means to me and how honored I would be to come back home and lead UMass.”

Athletic director Ryan Bamford said Reynolds impressed throughout the interview process.

“He was highly regarded by a lot of different people. We thought he was a good choice to start the next era of UMass baseball. I want someone who can outwork their resources, someone who has done more with less,” Bamford said. “Matt’s familiarity with UMass as a player and a coach was important. Being in Division III he understands recruiting a kid who might be able to overachieve.”

Reynolds said he and Stone have stayed in touch since he left UMass.

“It makes me very happy to see how excited he is for me to take over,” he said. “I think he really wanted to know that it was in good hands with someone who cared about the place.”

Reynolds is the 15th coach in the history of the program, but just the fourth coach in the last 70 years. Earl Lorden (1947-66), Dick Bergquist (1967-87) and Stone (1988-2017) all held the post for decades.

“I’m looking at this as a long-term opportunity. There’s no question about it,” Reynolds said. “But I’m really looking forward to the move, getting settled in Amherst and getting to work.”

He said he was eager to hit the recruiting trail.

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t turn over every single rock and cultivate relationships with high school and travel coaches in Massachusetts,” he said. “We can spread our wings into New England, New York, New Jersey and even Pennsylvania.”

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