Keeping Score: Frank Martin’s MOU

Published: 4/28/2023 9:28:39 PM
Modified: 4/28/2023 9:28:19 PM

Good morning!
After UMass released a copy of men’s basketball coach Frank Martin’s contract last week, the question became why it took so long for them to get the deal signed. The reason, said Associate AD Kevin Wissmann, is that both sides agreed to work under a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

“It took us longer to get the full contract done because of delays between athletics, Frank’s agency and our general counsel in review of the long-form contract,” Wissmann emailed. “There were no issues, per se, given the MOU agreement was in place for the last 12 months.”

“Not sure I buy that,” said a prominent donor to the men’s and women’s basketball teams, and if he has his doubts, so should we.

A Google search for “MOA loopholes” revealed on “The major disadvantage of a memorandum of understanding is that it is not legally binding.”

Either the university’s general counsel is Scott Boras, or Martin didn’t want to be locked into a five-year deal. In December, ran a lengthy piece by Matt Norlander that began with an anecdote about the genesis of Martin’s love for his family.

One day when he was 22 years old, Martin was in a Miami car dealership in the market to buy a new VW. The salesman left for a moment and told him to take a seat at another salesman’s desk. Martin sat down and was shocked to see on the desk a framed photo of himself and his sister. He looked across the lobby and saw his father, the man who had walked out on them when he was 10 years old.

Martin left without saying a word and it was the last time he saw his father.

After he was fired at South Carolina and was considering UMass, Martin made sure his wife Anya and children Brandon, Amalia and Christian were all-in on it. The vote was unanimous, but a month later his daughter Amalia changed her mind.

“Columbia, South Carolina, is the polar opposite of Amherst, Massachusetts,” Martin told Norlander. “Even though we prepared, it finally hit her.” 

It turned out that a track coach, assistant principal and teacher at Amalia’s high school had conspired to convince her that her father was being selfish for making them pull roots and move north.

Norlander doesn’t mention anything about Martin’s unsigned contract, but perhaps the MOU was a compromise between the university, Martin and his family. If they didn’t like it up here, he’d leave after the season. 

Amalia came north and excelled in class and on the volleyball court at Amherst-Pelham Regional School. She played for high school hall of fame coach Kacey Schmitt, was named the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Volleyball Player of the Year, and will attend Duquesne in the fall.

Which is why after the contract was released to the media, there may have been hidden meaning to what Martin told the Gazette and Recorder reporter Kyle Grabowski: “Everything fell into place the way it needed to.”


Adam Wodon of the College Hockey News reported on a recent podcast that BU has landed the probable top pick in the 2024 draft. Vancouver native Macklin Celebrini had 46 goals and 40 assists in 50 games for the USHL’s Chicago Steel this season. “He’ll be 17 years old the entire season. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that,” said Wodon.


Prolific sports author John Feinstein’s latest effort is a biography of golf’s David Feherty. A five-time winner on the European Tour and an uber-popular golf analyst, Feherty has spent a lifetime struggling with alcoholism and depression. “I white knuckle every day trying to stay sober,” said Feherty.

The book is titled, “Feherty: The Remarkably Funny and Tragic Journey of Golf’s David Feherty.”


Speaking of well documented struggles, the UMass spring football game is today at noon. The Minutemen are 2-22 the last two seasons but one assistant says of this season’s prospects: “We’ll be all right if we can survive Auburn and Penn State. We’re trying to get that old UMass toughness here, so we’ll see what happens. We are definitely improving.”

Admission and parking are free, and the gates open at 11 a.m. but bring your own umbrella.


The morning after Aaron Rodgers was introduced to the press in New York, PFT’s Mike Florio said, “I don’t know who all was in there, but there were multiple rounds of applause. I can’t think of many other press conferences where I’ve heard clapping multiple times.”

He was never at UMass for the Mark Whipple, Don Brown and Frank Martin pressers.


WPVI-TV in Philadelphia reported that the Deptford Township (N.J.) Little League has a new rule to keep parents from abusing umpires. “You’re not allowed to come onto our complex after you’ve been ejected until you complete three umpire assignments. Once you do that, then we’ll let you come back,” said league president Don Bozzuffi.


Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont didn’t win any friends in Texas by calling Houston “butt ugly” during the Final Four. If the insult drifted west he’d better look both ways at Austin’s crosswalks. The voice on the audio box telling pedestrians when it’s safe to walk belongs to country singer Ray Benson.


SQUIBBERS: The GHS baseball team had trouble getting the ball out of the infield against Hopkins two weeks ago. In the bottom of the seventh, outfielder Jack Dyjach ran to his position and yelled, “I just want a fly ball!”…  Ohio State’s spring game drew 75,000 fans who paid between $7 and $30 for tickets. …. Tory Verdi is said to be bringing Makennah White to Pitt with him. The 6-2 forward averaged 9.5 points and was an 82 percent free throw shooter for UMass this season. The move would make sense since White’s hometown is Farrell, Penn., 60 miles from Pittsburgh. … The Hartford Courant reports that UConn men’s basketball season tickets will be going up in 2024-25 from $2,400 to $3,700, pricey but cheaper than at Marquette ($5,230) and Villanova ($4,500). … Deerfield Academy grad Alex Killorn (’08) notched his 35th and 36th Stanley Cup playoff goals for Tampa Bay this week against Toronto which is desperately trying to change its playoff image as the Maple Loafs. … Davis Riley and Nick Hardy teamed up to win last week’s Zurich Open in New Orleans and split $2.5 million. A Mississippian, Riley won his first state high school title when he was in the 7th grade. … Eavesdropping on ballplayers in the middle of doing what they do is as stimulating as listening to Wally and Beave at the dinner table. … Tom Echeverria writes: “The Bruins regular season wins and points records were a nice accomplishment, but there should be an asterisk considering that until 1982 there was no overtime and games ended in ties.” …. After Tyler Bertuzzi grabbed Nick Cousins’s stick and smashing it on the Bruins bench, a blogger commented, “This guy was destined to be a Bruin.” … Good point by CHN’s Adam Wodon that 99 percent of NCAA athletes won’t see a dime of NIL money. … The Rays seem to be doing all right without Chaim Bloom.  … Brett Hollander after a foul ball was lofted behind home plate during Wednesday’s game against Boston: “That went into the press box below us. I hope no one lost a computer, or any pride.” … The Sporting News quoted Hockey Insider’s Frank Seravall saying right wing Valeri Nichushkin’s absence since April 22 was because “Something happened in the team hotel related to alcohol.” … The Kentucky Derby is a week from today and Forte already has six wins in seven starts and $2.4 million in earnings. “I’ve been watching him,” says John Dobrydnio. “We’ll get a horse to beat him.” Stay tuned, Dobrydnio’s ready to bet his tomato crop.

Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has penned his observations about sports for decades in the Pioneer Valley. He can be reached at


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