Sequels seldom live up to the originals.
Such is the case with Mark Whipple, who will not return next season as head coach of UMass at the conclusion of a second straight 4-8 season, according to various media outlets.
Whipple finished a 16-44 run with the Minutemen in his second go-round since his rehire in 2014. He also coached UMass from 1998 to 2003, compiling a 49-26 record with three playoff appearances and winning the school’s only Division 1-AA title in 1998.
With 22 seniors and most of the starters returning from last year’s squad that finished the season on a 4-2 run, expectations in Amherst were at their highest since the Minutemen joined FBS in 2012.
The timing for the move could be based, in part, on the high volume of players graduating, as well as several players declaring their intention to transfer away from the program last month. This move gives the next coach a chance for a new direction with all the roster turnover.
Whipple’s teams were efficient on offense, but the defensive side of the ball sputtered and, this season especially, struggled to stop the run.
The Minutemen faced a harsh national spotlight this season following Whipple’s “rape” comments at halftime against Ohio University that were directed at what he perceived to be a poor officiating job in the first half of the ballgame.
Whipple was suspended for the following game by Athletic Director Ryan Bamford.
Whipple’s contract was extended this past spring to extend into the 2020 season. His annual base salary was $500,000 through the end of the contract.
Whipple has coached at various collegiate programs and served as quarterbacks coach on NFL staffs in Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
As for UMass, the search begins for the next head coach. Expect candidates with strong recruiting track records in New England and down the Atlantic shore to be top priorities.
With most schools still playing at least one more game this week, expect the hiring process to wait a few weeks before names start to come forward.