While much of the discussion is focusing on the head coaching news at Louisville, Penn State and Vanderbilt, you should also know there is a new head coach in place at Massachusetts. In similar fashion to Bobby Petrino‘s return to Louisville, UMass is welcoming back a familiar face by naming Mark Whipple their new head coach. The news was first reported by Marc Bertrand of CSN New England via Twitter.
Whipple previously coached UMass from 1998 through 2003, putting together a record of 49-26 and leading the Minutemen to three Atlantic 10 championships and a national championship. Of course, that level of success took place in the FCS, and UMass is at the bottom of the FBS ranks right now so there is plenty of hard work to be done with the program.
UMass relieved Charley Molnar as head coach following back-to-back 1-11 seasons. The program has struggled since making the move from the FCS in to the MAC and concerns about attendance has become a serious problem for the school. With no stadium suitable for FBS competition with easy transportation options, the Minutemen have been playing home game sin Gillette Stadium in front of sparse crowds.
Whipple does not need to turn UMass in to a College Football Playoff contender or a top 25 team, but he does need to lay the foundation for success within the MAC. Whipple is not a long-term solution for UMass, but will take on the job in hopes of starting a building process that another coach may one day continue to build.