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The challenges of going from FCS to FBS

Charley Molnar took over at UMass back in December in the midst of a transition from the FCS, to a member of the FBS's Mid-American Conference. The first time head coach sat down with The Republican to talk about that transition and the challenges and expectations heading into next season, as well as the most important of his five team rules.

The single biggest challenge, according to Molnar, is changing the attitudes of the players to get them to start thinking bigger and understand that an entirely new level of commitment is needed to compete at the highest level of college football.

Having spent his entire career as an assistant, Molnar says that he had plenty of time to come up with a detailed plan for his first head coaching job. "I have a plan for just about everything that has come up. It really just validates my thinking over the last 15 to 20 years that when the opportunity to become a head coach would arise, have a thought-out philosophy on as much as I could. I think so far it’s been very helpful."

While he didn't want to attach a wins and losses goal on the expectations for next season, Molnar said that fans can expect the team to play extremely hard, be well prepared and most importantly, never quit.

"As far as wins and losses, I can’t look into the future and tell you what that’s going to be, but I can tell you this, we’re going to be competitive; we are playing a I-A schedule with a number of players that we’re recruited as I-AA players and that’s not to sell them short, but certainly there’s some player development that has to take place before those guys are ready to compete at the highest level of college football.

Hanging up in the locker room is a set of team rules, the first of which is "Treat women with respect", Molnar explained the reasoning behind that rule making the list.

"It just really comes from my heart. I believe this, that my job as head football coach goes beyond what I teach out on the field. The experiences that I have not only entering my 29th year as a football coach but my 28th year of being a father and my 50 years on Earth. I’ve been put in this position perhaps in order to touch young men beyond the Xs and the Os. I think that in our society some of the basic values have been lost or have kind of been diluted, so I want to make sure that part of the life lessons that I teach these young men are things I hold near and dear to my heart. And being a husband and a brother to girls, being a son, being a father to three beautiful young ladies, as I go through and see how our society has changed the way men interact with women it just makes me sick, so really I feel like, I can’t change the world but I can change my neighborhood, and that’s what I’m trying to do."