Massachusetts head coach Charley Molnar will not return, the school has announced.
Tasked with taking the UMass program from FCS to FBS, Molnar was let go on Thursday after posting back-to-back 1-11 seasons.
“We want to thank Charley Molnar for his service and the extraordinary time and energy he devoted to coaching the Minutemen as we entered competition in the Football Bowl Subdivision,” UMass athletics director John McCutcheon said in a statement. “It has become clear, however, that we must improve our performance in several areas and move in a new direction to ensure success in the FBS. Going forward, we must build a strong foundation to win on the field and stimulate enthusiasm and support for the program throughout the university community.”
Molnar’s 2-22 record, coupled with his inability to connect with the alumni base in his two years in Amherst, pushed the Minutemen administration to the point where they felt a change was necessary.
Molnar has three years remaining on his contract totaling $836,000.
The next UMass head coach faces the same challenge that Molnar could not conquer: taking a program that was not a powerhouse in the FCS Colonial Athletic Association (the Minutemen were 16-17 in the three seasons prior to Molnar’s hiring) and turning it into a winner in an area that is not a hotbed for FBS talent while competing in a conference centered in Ohio and Michigan and playing home games more than 90 miles off campus.
A long-time Brian Kelly lieutenant, Molnar served as Central Michigan’s quarterbacks and wide receivers coach in 2006, worked as passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at Cincinnati from 2007-09 and then again followed Kelly to Notre Dame as his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2010-11.
Massachusetts is the 15th FBS school to make a coaching change this season, and fourth MAC school, joining Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and Bowling Green. The Minutemen join Texas and Georgia Southern as the only vacant head coaching jobs in FBS.
As always, we’ll have more updates as they become available.