Source: UMass, football coach Mark Whipple parting ways

  • Michael Dwyer Michael Dwyer

Staff Writer
Published: 11/20/2018 3:05:06 PM

AMHERST — According to a source close to the conversations, UMass and football coach Mark Whipple will be parting ways in the coming days. The news was first reported by Bruce Feldman of The Athletic.

Although nothing has been finalized, the two sides are meeting this week and the talks are moving toward the school moving on from Whipple, the source said. According to the extension he signed last offseason, Whipple will be due $60,000 for UMass’ four wins this season in addition to a buyout of $500,000 if the termination is done prior to Nov. 30 or $300,000 if it occurs after Dec. 1. However, those figures are likely what is being negotiated by both sides.

Neither UMass athletics director Ryan Bamford, Whipple nor Whipple’s representative, Bob LaMonte of PSR Inc., was available for comment Tuesday.

Whipple was 16-44 in his latest, five-year tenure with UMass, bringing his record to 65-70 in his 11 combined years coaching the Minutemen. He returned to UMass for the 2014 season as the school’s second coach of the FBS era and led the Minutemen to 3-9 records in his first two years in charge. UMass was 2-10 in 2016 but bounced back with consecutive 4-8 campaigns in 2017 and 2018.

The 61-year-old was heralded in Amherst for leading the 1998 team to the then-Division I-AA national championship in his first year in charge. He coached the Minutemen to five winning seasons and made the playoffs three times in six years before leaving to become the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterbacks coach. He also made stops with the Philadelphia Eagles, University of Miami and Cleveland Browns before returning to UMass.

As news of his dismissal began to filter out, current UMass players took to Twitter to react to the news. Sophomore linebacker Chinedu Ogbonna tweeted, “Great coach man ... hate to see him leave.”

Junior Isaiah Rodgers, who tweeted earlier this week he is contemplating leaving early to go pro, tweeted “Not About The Record, The Man Changed The Culture and Brought this Team Closer And Together. We Rebuilding Regardless of who the coach is.”

Freshman defensive end Dennis Osagiede tweeted “Upset that Whip is gone. Now all I can ask God for is right guidance to be successful in the coming years.”

Whipple was suspended without pay earlier this season for using the word “rape” in a postgame interview after a loss at Ohio on Sept. 29. He missed the Minutemen’s 58-42 loss to South Florida at home on Oct. 6.


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