Scrolling Headlines:

Pipkins’ double-double leads UMass men’s basketball over Western Carolina -

November 21, 2017

Luwane Pipkins leads the UMass men’s basketball shooting show in 101-76 win over Niagara -

November 19, 2017

UMass to face tough test with Niagara backcourt -

November 19, 2017

Hockey Notebook: John Leonard on an early season tear for UMass hockey -

November 18, 2017

Clock runs out on UMass men’s soccer’s dream season in NCAA opener -

November 17, 2017

2017 Basketball Special Issue -

November 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball prepares for transitional season in 2017-18 -

November 16, 2017

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses how history and humanity is remembered -

November 16, 2017

CMASS completes seven-week discussion series -

November 16, 2017

UMass women’s basketball resets and reloads, looking to improve on last year’s record with plenty of new talent -

November 16, 2017

Matt McCall’s winding path to bring unity to UMass -

November 16, 2017

Carl Pierre is a piece to Matt McCall’s basketball program -

November 16, 2017

Why they stayed: Malik Hines, Chris Baldwin and C.J. Anderson -

November 16, 2017

McConnell chooses politics over morals -

November 16, 2017

Swipe right for love? Probably not. -

November 16, 2017

‘The Florida Project’ is a monument to the other side of paradise -

November 16, 2017

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ doesn’t have to be the best Marvel movie -

November 16, 2017

Thursday’s NCAA tournament rematch between UMass men’s soccer and Colgate will be a battle of adjustments -

November 15, 2017

Veteran belonging and the decline of American communities discussed by journalist and author at Amherst College -

November 15, 2017

‘UMass Cares About Cancer’ Hosts Blanket Making Event -

November 15, 2017

UMass baseball coach Mike Stone trying not to dwell on 2017 being his final season

(Jessica Picard/ Daily Collegian)

Tuesday afternoon was supposed to mark the 2017 home opener for the Massachusetts baseball team against Northeastern, but rain forced it to be postponed to a later date. When it is played, it will be the last home opener for UMass coach Mike Stone, who is retiring at the end of the season.

At first glance, the Minutemen (6-9, 2-1 Atlantic 10) are not off to an amazing start, but compared to how they have started in previous seasons, they are doing better. They just recently salvaged the final two games of their first A-10 series against George Washington after getting blown out in the first game 10-2.

The three-game series marked the last time Stone would coach the Minutemen at George Washington and two weeks ago marked his last Spring Break trip with the team as well.

Like most retiring sports figures, the season will be filled with “lasts.” The last time Stone faces a team, Stone’s last Beanpot Tournament and Stone’s last home-opening day. After 35 seasons coaching, 30 as the manager of the Minutemen, Stone has every right to get caught up in it all, but he won’t.

“No, I don’t think about that,” Stone said in an interview on Feb. 17. “I just think about what do we need to do as a team to get ready to play our best and to have to have the best team that we possibly can and I’ve done that every year.”

Though UMass has been fairly mediocre as of late, they still managed to put together seasons that keep them toward the middle of the standings. In fact, a UMass team has not finished in last place in the conference since 1984 – they finished fifth in their division that year, at the time the A-10 was separated into an eastern and western division.

When UMass fell to GW in the first game of the three-game series last Friday, it was the second consecutive blowout loss and the Minutemen’s record had dipped to 4-9. A 2-1 victory Saturday followed by a 10-4 comeback win Sunday had UMass coming home with 2-1 A-10 record.

This resiliency and toughness shown by the Minutemen is just an example of the impression Stone leaves on his teams.

“I mean he’s a work force,” senior outfielder Mike Hart said on Feb. 16. “He comes in early, he lifts every single day, he runs, he does the elliptical, he throws BP every day; I don’t want to say his age or anything, but it’s very impressive. So if you’re not working as hard as him, then I don’t know why you’re here.”

According to Hart, whether it is someone’s first season under Stone or fourth, everyone is putting in extra work to send him out on a perfect note.

“I know he wants to take as much as he can in this year because it is his last time being around, so we’re going to make that as fun as possible and it’s the most fun when we’re winning,” Hart said.

Stone, who came to the decision to retire last summer, said he just knew it was time to call it a career. With three quarters of the season still to be played, including the home opener, Stone is trying not to get distracted by this being his final season.

“I don’t dwell on the fact that it’s my last season, sometimes I think about it and I can’t believe it’s my last season.”

Philip Sanzo can be reached at and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo.

Leave A Comment