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Molnar targeted for the UMass head coaching job

Dec 6, 2011, 1:24 PM EDT

Charley Molnar

A week after running backs coach Tim Hinton was rumored to be joining Urban Meyer’s Ohio State staff (nothing has happened yet), there’s more smoke around another member of Brian Kelly‘s staff: offensive coordinator Charley Molnar, who looks to be the front-runner for the vacant UMass coaching job.

Mark Braudschun of the Boston Globe reports that after two weeks of interviewing candidates, Molnar has emerged as the top choice for the position.

Molnar’s candidacy was first reported by the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Sources familiar with the search process said UMass athletic director John McCutcheon met with Molnar over the weekend in Pittsburgh and came away so pleased he moved Molnar to the top of his wish list as the replacement for Kevin Morris, who was fired Nov. 21.

Barring any complications, Molnar could be named by the end of the week, with a press conference potentially being held at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, which will be the Minutemen’s home for the next few years as they transition to the Bowl Subdivision, as part of the Mid-American Conference.

Molnar was on the road recruiting in the past week for the Irish, but that could quickly change. According to Jason Sapp of, Molnar has been offered the position as of Monday night, and negotiations were ongoing.

For Molnar, any head coaching job would be a reward for a winding road as an assistant coach. With UMass moving into the Mid-America Conference and up into the FBS, Molnar’s credentials and experience in the conference seem to be helping his candidacy. Of course, the quality of the UMass job is subject to debate, with faculty mixed about stadium renovations and the transition to “big-time” football sometimes a sink or swim prospect. That said, expect Kelly to be supportive of his chief offensive lieutenant, and if Molnar’s representatives can get a deal done, expect him to depart quickly.

It’s tough to know what losing Molnar will mean for the Irish offense and for Kelly. With Molnar in the box relaying information, Kelly handled the playcalling duties, while Molnar also served as quarterbacks coach. From an offensive identity perspective, don’t expect the loss of Molnar to hurt the Irish, as Kelly will continue to hold on to playcalling duties regardless of who’s coordinating the offense.

The obvious internal candidate for the job is current offensive line coach and run-game coordinator Ed Warinner, who has already coordinated high powered offenses at Illinois and Kansas. Warinner could easily slide up the ladder, allowing Kelly to hire a quarterbacks coach, while also giving valued assistants like Tony Alford a bump in responsibility.

Of course, Alford’s name is always on the offseason radar for opposing schools and this year is no different. While the Denver Post reports that former Colorado head coach Gary Barnett is interested in the vacant Colorado State job, Alford’s name is also being mentioned for the job. Alford is a former running back for Colorado State, and while he’s probably not quite ready for a head coaching job, he’d certainly be a viable option from a recruiting perspective.

  1. kiopta1 - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    Man this coaching uncertainty is a pain for a program and recruiting.

  2. bernhtp - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    I’m not sure that head coach of UMass is a step up from OC at Notre Dame. I would tend to wait for a better opportunity if I were him. But then again, he might view that as a quick stepping stone to a better program. Of course, if he does not do well there – given the lack of support he would likely get – he would be relegated to obscurity or worse.

    • papadec - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:35 AM

      Needless to say – he’ll be weighing all of that. There will always be head coaching positions opening – like @ New Mexico, in a few years. Yeah I know – that was a cheap shot @ Davie. BUT, the reality of coaching is that you make it – or you don’t. If you don’t – there are always more opportunities either as a Head Coach or O/D Coordinator, down the road. I wish him well in whatever his decision will be.

    • 9irish - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:58 PM

      There is a certain amount of truth to that. The MAC is a classic stepping stone for coaches, and UMass going into it means they are interested in spending alot of money on football now. Sometimes it is easier to make something out of nothing. Don’t know much about the coach, but I think he will do well. Definitely knows what “pressure” is!

  3. ndrocks2 - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    Good oportunity and if you have to lose one the three mentioned in the article may as well be him, BK calls or runs the offense for the most part and not sure of recruits he is working with. Better lock down the other two mentioned pronto!!!

    • 9irish - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:09 PM

      Well, assistant coaches moving onward and upward is inevitable (and also a good way to entice excellent new ones to come to ND). Also saw that Tom Clements (Domer, of course) has offered his services to be the Head Coach at Penn State. If that happens hopefully he will replace all those coaches that have been there since Nixon….I always thought it was weird how they have all stayed there forever.

  4. NDfan1224 - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    Who would take his position?

  5. jonathanfesler - Dec 8, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Assistant coaches moving on is a fact of life! Good luck to him!!! And now a great opportunity will be open for someone else who wants to come to ND! Hopefully someone who knows how to cure coughing up the ball at the worst possible time or even not at all! Actually u didn’t think Bob Davie was that bad a coach considering his replacement etc!!!

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