Amherst, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - The University of Massachusetts announced the re-hiring of Mark Whipple as head football coach on Tuesday.
Whipple takes over for Charley Molnar, who was dismissed from the post on Dec. 26. Molnar was hired as head coach prior to the 2012 campaign, when Massachusetts played its first season as an FBS program in the Mid-American Conference. The Minutemen went 2-22 in two years under Molnar's guidance, including a 2-14 mark in MAC play.
"We are thrilled to welcome back one of the greatest coaches in the 135-year history of UMass football," said UMass Amherst chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy. "Coach Whipple is committed to fostering a positive environment in which our student-athletes will thrive both athletically and academically. His passion for the flagship campus and his drive for excellence have already earned the support of alumni, faculty, students and fans. I am confidant that, under coach Whipple's leadership, Minuteman football will continue to improve and will excel at the FBS level."
The 56-year-old's first stint with UMass occurred between 1998-2003, where he led the program to three postseason berths, a Division I-AA championship in his first year at the helm and a 49-26 overall record. Since that time, Whipple served as a coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2004-06), Philadelphia Eagles (2007-08), Miami-Florida (2009-10) and Cleveland Browns (2011-12).
"I have a lot to give," said Whipple. "I can make a bigger impact than I have ever made in my life with people young, old and in between at the University of Massachusetts and that's what I am really excited about. I believe in this place and it hit me after the interview when I drove around campus and then got out and walked. This is a special place and I will represent this University better than I ever have."
UMass kicks off its 2014 campaign at Wisconsin on Aug. 31.