The challenges of going from FCS to FBS

Charley Molnar took over at UMass back in December in the midst of a transition from the FCS, to a member of the FBS's Mid-American Conference. The first time head coach sat down with The Republican to talk about that transition and the challenges and expectations heading into next season, as well as the most important of his five team rules.

The single biggest challenge, according to Molnar, is changing the attitudes of the players to get them to start thinking bigger and understand that an entirely new level of commitment is needed to compete at the highest level of college football.

Having spent his entire career as an assistant, Molnar says that he had plenty of time to come up with a detailed plan for his first head coaching job. "I have a plan for just about everything that has come up. It really just validates my thinking over the last 15 to 20 years that when the opportunity to become a head coach would arise, have a thought-out philosophy on as much as I could. I think so far it’s been very helpful."

While he didn't want to attach a wins and losses goal on the expectations for next season, Molnar said that fans can expect the team to play extremely hard, be well prepared and most importantly, never quit.

"As far as wins and losses, I can’t look into the future and tell you what that’s going to be, but I can tell you this, we’re going to be competitive; we are playing a I-A schedule with a number of players that we’re recruited as I-AA players and that’s not to sell them short, but certainly there’s some player development that has to take place before those guys are ready to compete at the highest level of college football.

Hanging up in the locker room is a set of team rules, the first of which is "Treat women with respect", Molnar explained the reasoning behind that rule making the list.

"It just really comes from my heart. I believe this, that my job as head football coach goes beyond what I teach out on the field. The experiences that I have not only entering my 29th year as a football coach but my 28th year of being a father and my 50 years on Earth. I’ve been put in this position perhaps in order to touch young men beyond the Xs and the Os. I think that in our society some of the basic values have been lost or have kind of been diluted, so I want to make sure that part of the life lessons that I teach these young men are things I hold near and dear to my heart. And being a husband and a brother to girls, being a son, being a father to three beautiful young ladies, as I go through and see how our society has changed the way men interact with women it just makes me sick, so really I feel like, I can’t change the world but I can change my neighborhood, and that’s what I’m trying to do."

"The more you enjoy it, the more you win"

Jimmy Johnson came back to Coral Gables to address the Hurricane football team and a handful of former players recently, and Miami released a nice bonus video with Johnson's emotional message.

The message of Coach Johnson's speech is to "Enjoy the Journey", and you can tell that he has everyone's undivided attention.

Miami has released a few videos so far for Season 2 of "Raising Canes", and they've all been very impressive.

Johnson hasn't coached since '99, but he's still got it.

7 assistants - 215 schools- 5 days

Gus Malzahn made a recruiting announcement this morning that seven of his Arkansas State assistant coaches are hitting the road in what's being called the "A-State Ambush".

The goal of the recruiting blitz is to visit all 215 football playing schools in the state of Arkansas in the next 5 days. That means every powerhouse who churns out DI recruit after DI recruit, as well as the schools that have never produced a Division I athlete.

He wasn't kidding at his introductory press conference when he said he was going to recruit the state of Arkansas like it had never been done before.

“I want them to know that our doors are always open for them here at Arkansas State,” Malzahn said about visiting all 215 schools. “I want them to know that even if they never have a kid that can play college ball that they are still very important to us and our program. I want them to know that they can come study our film, watch our practices and be a part of our program.”

“There are no better high school coaches in America than they are right here in the state of Arkansas, I truly believe that.”

“I don’t think it has ever been done before,” he added. “I know it hasn’t been done in just five days.”

The Art of hiring a new head coach

Bud Withers of the Seattle Times wrote a very interesting article about the challenges involved in the modern day hiring process of finding a new leader for your football team. This one is worth your time.

The initial focus is on how Bill Moos, Washington State's athletic director, went about hiring Mike Leach; but Withers touches on aspects of the searches at Arizona, UCLA and Arizona State as well. 

Easily the best quote of the entire piece comes from Moos (who we have already proclaimed the AD of the Year). Withers writes:

Moos says candidly that some hires left him scratching his head. "There's the Charlie Weis deal," he says of Kansas' hire. "He failed miserably at Notre Dame, but, 'By God, he was at Notre Dame.' Down at Ole Miss, they have to have 15 people on a search committee (actually it was five). By the time they get through the introductions on the search committee, all the good coaches are hired. I don't need 15 people sitting at the table. Where are the other 14 when I get evaluated on (the performance of) my football coach?"

Bill, let us know your address and we'll send you the award. 

Saving lives at Salve Regina

Salve Regina head coach Bob Chesney has a crystal clear big picture idea on how to run a football program; and giving back to the community is a huge part of that picture.

Chesney, inspired by the work of Villanova head football coach Andy Talley, partnered with the Be The Match registry to help organize a campus wide bone marrow drive.

The football team was out in full force, informing people and directing them to the Rec Center where donor registration was taking place.

Coach Talley has been involved in raising awareness for bone marrow transplants since 1992 when he was first told of the struggles facing the 10,000 people in need of bone marrow transplants. The chances of those affected actually finding an available donor is as low as 66%.

In 2010 Talley started his own non-profit organization called the "Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation" and has been able to enlist the help of 29 other college football programs, like Salve Regina, to lead bone marrow registry drives on their own campuses across the country. In 2010 Talley set out to get 5,000 new registrants, when all was said and done, they had added 8,800. Needless to say, he's passionate about the mission.

For his program at Salve Regina, Chesney aims to develop well rounded individuals. "It's not just about football. It's not just about the academics. That's something that we preach a lot to every kid that comes in here. We also want you to be pretty good off the field as well, and in the community. So what better way to reach out and really get involved in the community and make ourselves and our school proud." 

One of the organizers commended the use of athletics to get spread the word, saying that "One of the benefits of working with an athletics team, is that they're already organized, they're used to doing community service and a lot of times the coaches are passionate about getting involved in other things affect their community."

Take a look at what Chesney and the team were able to put together to raise awareness on their campus.

Recent News

Photos: First look at Ohio State's new locker...

Here's how Colin Cowherd got Nick Saban to wear...

Video: Be Bret Bielema's shadow at the ESPN car...

The Scoop | HS Scoop
Hot | New | Must Read