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UMass fires head coach Charley Molnar after 1-11 season

Charley Molnar won only two of 24 games in his two seasons on the sideline at UMass. (Stew Milne/AP)

UMass head football Coach Charley Molnar has been fired

Massachusetts has dismissed football coach Charley Molnar, the school announced on Thursday.

In a statement, UMass Director of Athletics John McCutcheon said the program needed to move in a different direction.

"We want to thank Charley Molnar for his service and the extraordinary time and energy he devoted to coaching the Minutemen as we entered competition in the Football Bowl Subdivision," McCutcheon said. "It has become clear, however, that we must improve our performance in several areas and move in a new direction to ensure success in the FBS. Going forward, we must build a strong foundation to win on the field and stimulate enthusiasm and support for the program throughout the university community."

Molnar took over the Minutemen in 2012 just as the program moved to the FBS level. He compiled a record of 2-22 in two years as coach, and was just 2-14 in Mid American Conference conference games. Molnar's only victory in 2013 came against a winless Miami (Ohio) squad. The Minutemen ranked 120th nationally in total offense and 97th in total defense.

Controversy also surfaced surrounding Molnar earlier this season. In September the Daily Hampshire Gazettepublished a video from 2012 showing UMass players wrestling and boxing each other, often in the snow. An alumni petition formed calling for Molnar and his staff to stop the improper treatment of players. Molnar defended the training tactics, telling the Gazette that they helped develop "mental toughness and accountability" for his players.

At the time, McCutcheon stood behind Molnar and the coach's staff. But UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy later issued a statement that said the video's findings raised concerns about student safety and that the school would resolve the issue. The ensuing investigation into Molnar apparently played a part in the decision not to retain the coach.