Is Irish assistant the next UMass coach?
When Kevin Morris was fired as head football coach at the University of Massachusetts, athletic director John McCutcheon said that change was necessary.
"With the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Mid-American Conference, I felt it was important for the program to have a new direction in leadership," McCutcheon said in a statement.
That direction has been pointing toward an offensive-minded coach to take the reins. McCutcheon and the search committee have apparently found their candidate as multiple media sources report that Notre Dame offensive coordinator Charley Molnar will be named to replace Morris, who was fired after three years as head coach.
The three most prominent names mentioned as potential head coaches all have been offensive coordinators. In addition to Molnar, former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Calvin Magee and Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown, were reportedly on the list of the 10-member search committee.
Magee, who spent the past season as the offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh, resigned earlier this week to become the offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Arizona. Magee had worked with Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia and Michigan.
Brown played tight end at UMass in 2002 and started his coaching career with the Minutemen the next year. He transferred from Kentucky. He is finishing his second season under Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech.
Molnar is wrapping up his second season as Notre Dame's offensive coordinator under head coach Brian Kelly. The Irish are bound for the Champs Sports Bowl against Florida State on Dec. 29 in Orlando, Fla.
Molnar has worked with Kelly since both were at Central Michigan. He went with Kelly to Cincinnati and then to Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish averaged 30.5 points per game. They threw the ball 438 times and gained 3,097 yards in the air. Tommy Rees was developed into a quality college quarterback, as he completed 65 percent of his passes and threw for 2,708 yards.
In 28 years as an assistant college coach Molnar has always been an offensive coach. He spent 11 seasons as an offensive coordinator. In addition to his coordinator's duties at Notre Dame, Cincinnati and Central Michigan, he was the offensive coordinator at Kent State, Indiana State and Illinois State.
According to BlueandGold.com, a site that follows Notre Dame football closely, Molnar had been offered the position Monday night. The site reported that terms of a contract were still in the negotiation stages.
If Molnar does take the job, he will begin the process of trying to develop a quarterback for the Minutemen as they move up to the MAC next year. Transfer Kellen Pagel and redshirt freshman Brandon Hill split quarterback duties during the Minutemen's 5-6 season, their last in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision. Pagel started seven games, completing 153 of 267 passes for 1,725 yards, 9 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
In the preseason, Molnar met with reporters to discuss the Notre Dame offense and what he and Kelly look for in a quarterback to run the more wide-open, spread-style offense they favor.
"We watch how their teammates respond to them when they go out on the field," Molnar said at the time. "If the team is excited when a guy goes in and makes plays, obviously they have a good feeling about the guy.
"The best way for a team to buy into a particular quarterback is, number one, he doesn't turn the ball over and number two, he has the ability to make plays when there's nothing there."
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