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Mark Whipple will return to UMass as head coach

Mark Whipple will return to UMass as head coach, multiple outlets reported Friday night.

The Whipple hiring is a return to UMass' successful roots, as Whipple went 49-26 as the Minutemen's head coach from 1998-2003. From UMass, spent three seasons as the Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterbacks coach, two years as an offensive assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles, and then the 2009-10 seasons as Randy Shannon's offensive coordinator at Miami. 

Whipple helped the Hurricanes jump from 87th nationally in total offense the year prior to his hiring to 45th in 2009 and then 31st in 2010. 

From Miami, Whipple transitioned to the Cleveland Browns, where he spent the 2011-12 seasons as the team's quarterbacks coach. Whipple spent the 2013 season out of football. 

The UMass program Whipple takes over is entirely different than the one he left. The Minutemen have departed the CAA for the Mid-American Conference, and now play their home games at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, some 90 miles from campus. The program went 2-22 in its first two FBS seasons under Charley Molnar.

On the other hand, Whipple provides an instant connection with an alumni base that became fractured from the football program during Molnar's two-year tenure. 

With the hiring, Whipple becomes the 18th FBS head coach tabbed during the 2013-14 season. Only UAB and Vanderbilt remain open at this time.