Monday, June 1, 2015

UMass Minutemen (2000-02)

Remember when drop-shadow numbers were all the rage on football uniforms? After the 1994 San Francisco 49ers wore their 1950s throwbacks in a Super Bowl rout, everyone leaped on the bandwagon and decided to add them. Even tradition-bound teams such as Auburn caved in to the trend.

The teams in our little project were no exception. Maine, UNH, Columbia, Boston College, Delaware, Holy Cross, Northeastern and UConn all wore the drop-shadows at some time during the 90s and aughties. Today, we look at UMass' first version of the uniforms -- the last ones to feature the 1990s script logo, made famous by the school's basketball team and replaced in 2003. 

The uniform is a mix of old and new -- well, new for that time period. The jerseys were the Minutemen's first to feature a wordmark (another 1990s innovation), but the helmets and pants still used thick stripes (a vestige of an earlier time). In 2002, an American flag patch was added to the jersey fronts. 

The 2000 UMass home uniform. The pic is from the 2001 UMass Index yearbook.
The 2002 road uniform, with the flag patch. This is from the 2003 Index ...
Once we get to the 21st century, college yearbooks start to take on a
rather slapdash quality. The sports teams are often limited to a few tossed-together photos
on one or two pages with no text ... or context, for that matter.
The most famous player to wear these unis was running back Marcel Shipp, who was a three-time All-American and two-time finalist for the Walter Payton Award (top player in FCS/I-AA). His 5,383 career rushing yards are still among the all-time FCS leaders.

The one and only Marcel Shipp in 2000.
What do you think he remembers more: His 1998 I-AA national championship,
or his two UFL titles with the Las Vegas Locomotives?
Shipp went to play six years for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals from 2001-07 (he missed all of 2004 with an injury) -- not bad for an undrafted free agent. He is now the running backs coach for the New York Jets.

Much, much more from the Minutemen: 201420131986-871978-841974, 19721966-681938-39.

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