Notre Dame’s Molnar may be UMass-bound
After two weeks of interviews, the University of Massachusetts is focusing on making Notre Dame offensive coordinator Charley Molnar its next football coach.
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, 50, has worked as Brian Kelly’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame for two seasons. He also worked with Kelly at Central Michigan and Cincinnati during a 28-year coaching career.
Molnar’s familiarity with the MAC and his offensive background appeal to McCutcheon.
Five vie for Heisman
Quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor, running backs Trent Richardson of Alabama and Montee Ball of Wisconsin, and LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu are the Heisman Trophy finalists. The winner will be announced Saturday.
Luck’s Heisman fate has yet to be decided, but he did win the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award yesterday, presented annually to the nation’s top quarterback who best exemplifies character and scholastic and athletic achievement.
Harvard’s Ortiz honored
Harvard senior defensive tackle Josue Ortiz and Cornell sophomore quarterback Jeff Mathews are the Ivy League’s players of the year . . . Lawyers for the Big East moved to dismiss a lawsuit designed to speed West Virginia’s departure from the conference to the Big 12, arguing the Mountaineers’ case has no legal foundation to challenge conference bylaws it is now trying to invalidate . . . Boise State coach Chris Peterson is calling for an end to the current Bowl Championship Series system after the No. 7 Broncos (11-1) were left out of the high-profile games. The Broncos (11-1) accepted an invitation to the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas . . . Oregon All-American cornerback Cliff Harris was dismissed for violating team rules . . . Hawaii coach Greg McMackin is retiring after a 6-7 season. He was 29-25 in four seasons with the Warriors . . . Miami wide receiver Tommy Streeter and defensive lineman Marcus Forston are skipping their senior seasons and declaring for the NFL draft . . . Carl Pelini, who helped turn around Nebraska’s defense, was hired as head coach by Florida Atlantic, replacing Howard Schnellenberger.
SI tabs Summitt, Coach K
Tennessee’s Pat Summitt and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski are Sports Illustrated’s sportswoman and sportsman of the year. Summitt announced in August that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, but pledged to continue coaching and show others that they can live their lives with the disease. She earned her 1,075th career victory Sunday. Krzyzewski passed mentor Bob Knight Nov. 15 when he won his 903d game. They joined UCLA’s John Wooden (1972) and North Carolina’s Dean Smith (1997) as the only college basketball coaches to receive the honor . . . Vincent Council had 21 points, 11 assists, and 9 rebounds to lead Providence (6-2) to an 80-49 home win over Brown (4-6) . . . Reggie Willhite scored 23 points and Greg Mangano added 21 as Yale (6-2) took a 73-71 win at Sacred Heart (5-5) . . . Riquna Williams scored a career-high 36 points, including a pair of 3-pointers to start the second overtime, and the ninth-ranked Hurricanes rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit to beat No. 11 Rutgers in a women’s game at Miami, 92-81.
Material from wire services was used in this report.