The MAC coaching carousel claimed another victim today as UMass has dismissed Charley Molnar after just two seasons, both being the Minutemen's first in the FBS.
The announcement comes at odd timing, as Minutemen Director of Athletics John McCutcheon made the announcement the day after Christmas. It also comes as a surprise since McCutcheon supported Molnar as recently as 4 weeks ago. However, it appears the decision was due, as both McCutcheon and UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy mirrored remarks about trying to improve not only the product on the field, but off it as well.
From the official release from the UMass athletics website:
"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," McCutcheon said. "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."
UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said, "I fully support the decision regarding the head coaching position in football. Our program must foster a positive environment in which our student-athletes thrive both athletically and academically. Furthermore, it is critical that in addition to ensuring on-field success our next coach earns the support of alumni, faculty, students and fans. I am confident that UMass football will continue to improve and will excel at the FBS level."
The release goes on to state that Molnar has 3 years remaining on his initial contract and is set to make $836,000 over those years.
Molnar only went 2-22 in his two seasons, and defeated Miami (0-12) this season, and Akron (1-11, FCS win) this year as their only victories. His team came close to defeating Western Michigan this season as well, but a failed 2-point conversion prevented that. Molnar also caught fire from fans and alumni with the way the embattled coach conducted winter conditioning drills.
So now the MAC has lost 4 of their 13 head coaches from September, and Pete Lembo is still a very hot pick to possibly move somewhere this off-season, should a high-quality opportunity present itself. Meanwhile, UMass must find someone to lead the program into some form of success in the FBS following a slow start.
It appears that securing outside funding for Molnar's remaining salary played a role in this peculiar decision to fire Molnar now. According to MASSLive.com's Daniel Malone an outside source is covering the rest of Molnar's salary.
Molnar's $836,000 buyout will be paid for via "external funding."— Daniel Malone (@Daniel_Malone) December 26, 2013
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