Mark Whipple has officially named three assistants to his coaching staff. According to the University of Massachusetts Athletics, Tom Masella, Mike Cassano, Liam Coen have officially joined Whipple's staff; all three men have either previously coached or played at UMass.
Masella, who will be the Minutemen's defensive coordinator, was the defensive coordinator for Whipple in 2002 and 2003 and most recently was the offensive coordinator at Wagner. UMass returns three of it's top four leading tacklers from last year as well as three returning defensive backs. They showed flashes of a potential great defense last season but were constantly on the field due to a lack of offense. Masella should be able to improve on this defense given the talent that he has returning.
Cassano, who will be taking over as passing game coordinator/receivers coach, was the running backs coach with Whipple from 1998-2004 in which UMass had plenty of success on the ground. Cassano coached Marcel Shipp who is arguably the greatest player in UMass football history, as he was a three-time finalist for the Walter Payton award, and a three-time FCS All-American. Cassano will have plenty of work on his hands as UMass was one of the worst offenses in the MAC and struggled at the receiver position. Recent news of Marken Michel's return to school should help the receiver corps tremendously and give Cassano another threat on the outside.
Liam Coen, who takes on the quarterbacks coach position, was a four-year starter at UMass and holds nearly every UMass passing record. He spent the last two seasons as the quarterbacks coach at Brown, which had the IVY League's top passing offense during that time. UMass has had some inconsistency at the quarterback position and played two quarterbacks nearly every game the last two seasons. Coen should help change a lot of the problems that UMass had in the past and improve their passing attack.