Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Former University of Massachusetts football coach Mark Whipple could be closer to returning to the Minutemen.
Several sources confirmed that Whipple will interview next week, perhaps as early as Tuesday, for the head coaching position that has been vacant since UMass dismissed Charley Molnar on Dec. 26.
Whipple is expected to meet with athletic director John McCutcheon and Bill Carr, president of Carr Sports Associates, either in Indianapolis prior to the American Football Coaches Association convention or in Hartford, Conn.
The 56-year-old Whipple, who has considerable support from former players and influential boosters, appears to be the leading candidate.
Whipple led UMass to three Division I-AA playoff appearances, including the 1998 national championship. Whipple left the Minutemen to become the quarterbacks coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004 and won a Super Bowl ring there. After three seasons in Pittsburgh, he then spent two seasons as an offensive assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles, two seasons as the offensive coordinator/assistant head coach at the University of Miami and two seasons as the quarterbacks coach with the Cleveland Browns.
He didn’t coach anywhere in 2013.
Another rumor picking up steam is that Don Brown could join Whipple in Amherst. Brown is the defensive coordinator at Boston College, where he likely makes more than UMass would pay him in the same position. But Brown, 58, spent seven previous seasons coaching the Minutemen, first as the defensive coordinator (1998-99) and then as the head coach (2004-08). It wouldn’t take him long to qualify for a state pension, which might be more valuable long term.
Brown has also been the defensive coordinator at Maryland (2009-10) and Connecticut (2011-12).
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage