UMass basketball head coach Derek Kellogg fired

Kellogg was a fan favorite as the hometown boy from Springfield

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Derek Kellogg has been fired as head coach of the UMass men’s basketball team after 9 seasons. The university gave him the news after Thursday’s game.

As a coach, Kellogg had an overall record of 155-137, and his teams made the NCAA tournament just once. In a media conference Friday morning, UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford says his mind was made up last month after a poor conference season. “We were just never really able to go on a run in conference,” says Bamford. “I’m not sure there’s one day where I said, ‘Okay, we’ve gotta make this change.’ It was just a culmination of looking at the overall picture.”

Coach Kellogg’s buyout is $1 million dollars, which will be paid over the next 2 years. Last year, Kellogg was the highest paid public employee in the state, and the only person making more than $1 million. The incoming coach will get a 5-year contract and an average salary of $800,000 – $900,000 every year, with the value increasing the last 3 years.

Bamford is mindful some of the team’s players might want to transfer because of this change. UMass Amherst student Matt Zalucki says a shuffle in the team is his biggest concern. “It would be a shame to see some of them gone,” says Zalucki. “I would hope we could retain, if not all of them, a majority of them because the program’s future looks bright with those players.”

UMass Athletics says an extensive national search is underway to fill the position. Bamford says they’re looking for someone who can take the team to the next level. UMass is aiming to have a list of candidates ready by the end of the month.