Saturday, May 01, 2004

The University of Massachusetts football team will hold its annual banquet on May 7

AMHERST, Mass. ‹ The University of Massachusetts football team will hold its annual banquet on May 7, 2004, to honor the 2003 Atlantic 10 Conference champions. A new tradition will begin this year, as former UMass stars and members of the Friends of UMass Football will be on hand to present awards to members of the 2003 team.

Among the award presenters will be a number of former All-Americans, former National Football League standouts and UMass Athletic Hall of Fame members.
This list includes Ned Deane, Bill DeFlavio, Bob Foote, Dennis Keating, Bruce Kimball, Joe McLaughlin, Bob Meers, Robert Pena and Phil Vandersea.

Deane (Class of 1976) was a co-captain, team MVP and All-New England selection. He was named All-America at the guard position and went on to play professional football in Canada. Deane has had a most successful career as an executive in the financial services industry and presently serves as First Vice President of Investments at Smith Barney in Boston.

DeFlavio (Class of 1972) was All-East for three years, team MVP, All-America and one of UMass¹ greatest nose tackles ever. He played for the Montreal Allouettes of the Canadian Football League and later in the World Football League. After a lengthy career as a senior executive with Nike, Bill currently is a real estate developer and builder in Massachusetts.

Foote (Class of 1962) was a three-year starter at tackle who was named All-Conference, All-New England and All East. He was also selected as an All-American in his senior year. He serves as President and owner of Cook Builder Supplies, a large regional company with locations throughout Western Mass. and also owns several other businesses. He is very active in regional political, civic and charitable affairs, as well as being a co-founder of the UMass Court Club with Jack Leaman. He is an avid supporter of UMass sports teams.

Keating (Class of 1972) was a team captain, All-Yankee Conference, All-New England and the only player to win this honor at two different defensive back positions. He signed with the New York Jets where he played two years for the legendary Weeb Ewbank. He has been a restaurateur and had a very successful career as an executive in the food and beverage industry. He currently is the Regional Manager for Nicolas Wines and Lunean USA.

Kimball (Class Of 1978) played guard and was captain. He is one of only five players in school history who were named All-America twice. He was a sixth round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers and played eight seasons for the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins, winning the Super Bowl in 1983 with Washington. He is also a member of the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame. Kimball is a most successful businessman, who currently serves in sales management for Ricoh and Heidelberg Printing USA.

McLaughlin (Class of 1978) was a linebacker and team captain of the legendary 1978 team that won the Yankee Conference title and a playoff game at Nevada-Reno, before finally getting nipped in the national championship game at the Pioneer Bowl by Florida A&M. He signed with the New York Giants and played six years with both the Giants and the Green Bay Packers.
McLaughlin is an entrepreneur and has served as president of his Pro Fence Company for many years on Cape Cod.

Meers (Class of 1966) played on possibly UMass¹ greatest team ever. He was named All-America and teamed with fellow All-American and All-Pro Milt Morin at end to make up the greatest end combination in college football that year and in UMass football history. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings and played for both the Vikings and the San Diego Chargers. He is a member of the UMass Athletic Hall Of Fame. Meers has had a most successful career as an executive in the sporting goods industry and joined Reebok in 1984, when it was a $10 million company. He oversaw several divisions of the company and under his leadership helped it grow into a $2 billion worldwide industry giant. He retired in 1999 but in 2003 assumed the CEO and Presidency of Syratech, a worldwide manufacturer of quality houseware products.

Pena (Class of 1972) was All-Conference, All-East and team MVP as an offensive guard. He was drafted in the fourth round by the Cleveland Browns and started for them in his second year. He played with fellow UMass tight end Milt Morin on a team that also featured the legendary Leroy Kelly. Pena is a most successful businessman and currently serves as president of his own company, Mortgage Security Corp. He is a real estate developer and has several offices and projects on Cape Cod and around New England.

Vandersea (Class of 1966) played fullback and linebacker for UMass on the legendary team that featured quarterback Greg Landry, Bob Meers, Milt Morin and several other pro stars. He was drafted as a junior ³future² in the ninth round by the Denver Broncos, but signed with the Green Bay Packers, who drafted him in his senior year. Vandersea played for coach Vince Lombardi and with Paul Hornung and all the other stars with the Packers.
For five years he played tight end, fullback, linebacker and even defensive tackle. He played for the Packers in the first Super Bowl and has a ring that honors his appearance. He coached for several years at the college level, taught and has been actively involved with the State of Massachusetts in the field of correction and parole liaison.

The banquet will be held in the UMass Student Union Ballroom, beginning at 5:30 p.m., with the dinner set for 6:30 p.m. The cost is $36.00 per person, and the event is open to all UMass fans. For more information, or to reserve, contact the UMass football office at (413) 545-2026.