Sunday, March 18, 2012
UMass, Flint will meet again on Tuesday
In his time as point guard at the University of Massachusetts, current Minutemen coach Derek Kellogg was mentored by Bruiser Flint, an assistant under John Calipari at the time and a former collegiate point guard himself. Kellogg and Flint will cross paths again Tuesday night, coaching against each other with a trip to Madison Square Garden for the NIT semifinals on the line.
Flint's Drexel Dragons, a No. 3 seed, advanced to the quarterfinal matchup with a 65-63 win over Northern Iowa on Sunday. UMass, a No. 5 seed, qualified by beating top seed Seton Hall on Saturday. The game, which will be at Drexel, will be televised on ESPN (7 ET).
Flint replaced Calipari as UMass head coach in 1996 after Calipari left Amherst for the NBA following the school's lone appearance in the Final Four, and Kellogg was a graduate assistant coach for Flint in 1996-97. Flint lasted five seasons, compiling an 86-72 record (52-28 in the Atlantic 10), and led UMass to its last two NCAA tournament appearances (1997, '98). In retrospect, the numbers look pretty good, but when compared to the team's enormous success under Calipari, Flint didn't measure up.
After Flint departed, the Minutemen largely struggled under Steve Lappas and improved under Travis Ford. But in his fourth season, Kellogg has revived the team to arguably its best and most exciting season since Flint's tenure.
Flint, who has put together a successful career at Drexel, has never faced his former team. In 11 seasons with the Dragons, Flint has a 199-140 record and has been CAA coach of the year four times, including this season. His teams have made the NIT five times, but he missed out on his first NCAA bid with Drexel when his team was one of the last left out of this year's field.
UMass enters Tuesday's game with a 24-11 record, Drexel comes in at 29-6.