The news came as a surprise–merely because the delay from the end of the regular season would seem to indicate that no change would be made at this time.
But in terms of direction, UMass athletic director John McCutcheon’s decision to fire football coach Charlie Molnar after two seasons on Thursday was the right move.
A 2-22 record, with waning interest and no signs of a turnaround was enough to reason to end the Molnar error after only two seasons.
The question, of course, is where does UMass go from here?
Two quick answers.
1. Former UMass coach Mark Whipple
2. Former Boston College Coach Frank Spaziani.
3. Towson Coach Rob Ambrose
Whipple and Spaziani would take the job if asked. According to sources both men are interested in talking to UMass.
Ambrose, who has brought Towson to the FCS national championship game against North Dakota State next week and will be a tougher sell.
Having someone say “Yes” is a key item here. The one thing that UMass can not do is let this linger beyond a few days.
None of this nonsense about forming a search committee and screening a list of national candidates.
UMass needs to get revived and re-directed as quickly as possible. It needs to have a new coach and a new staff in place by the time the “dead period” in recruiting ends in a few weeks.
It also needs to avoid the embarrassment of contacting anyone and having them NOT accept the job.
Whipple is an obvious hire. The high point in UMass football-a 1-AA national championship–came when Whipple was the head coach.
Whipple has bounced around in the NFL assistant circles and also taken on the role of an offensive coordinator (at the University of Miami). He knows how to coach, he knows how to recruit. He knows how to energize a program, to sell and to build.
Spaziani also wants to return to coaching after his stint at Boston College which ended with a 4-8, 2-10 explosion which some people will argue was the true nature of his ability as a head coach.
To suggest that Spaziani couldn’t recruit is a misstatement. Just look at the Senior Class at BC, which was largely responsible for BC’s turnaround to a 7-5 season. Most of those players were Spaziani recruits.
Second chances are given all the time in the re-cycle world of college football coaching. Spaziani still has the enthusiasm and the desire to be a head coach.
Other names will no doubt appear on UMass coaching lists such as Ambrose, who could be the next FCS coach to jump to the FBS level. McCutcheon made a good hire in getting a UMass guy, Derek Kellog, to help bring UMass basketball back to a new level.
Now he must do the same in college football and the stakes are higher, since another failure, such as Molnar, will no doubt doom the future of UMass football, but also almost certainly cost McCutcheon his job as well.
This should not be a long drawn out process. If UMass and McCutcheon do this right it should all be wrapped up by January 1.
© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.