I'm still having trouble letting go of my Whipple Boner. He was THE PERFECT COACH for BC and GDF unconscionably let him slip away. Eagle in Atlanta has been a good source for BC info and has worked hard over the years, but lately he just sounds like a sycophantic BC rumpswab, applauding this regrettable hire like he's Mike Vega's buttboy. One recent posting of his gushed that interest in the job has confirmed BC is now a very desirable place to be. Whaaat? I'd agree if BC stole the coach from Texas A&M or Purdue, but everyone GDF interviewed was either an assistant or an HC at a 1-AA school looking to take a step up, any step. And who wouldn't be interested in a promotion and 200% raise? Give me a break. GDF hires this nobody who's been, ahem, kicking around and treading water for 21 years, riding the slowest of the slow ride elevators. If you read between the lines in today's Mark Blaudschun article, you know he feels the same way as I do, and Blaudschun is only the most respected college sports journalist in the area. We lost a great one in Whipple, no two ways about it, and I am not afraid to call GDF out on the carpet for it, unlike Eagle in Atlanta.
What might have been had GDF not dropped the ball? UMass gave Whipple this glowing salute when he left the Minutemen for the Steelers in 2004:
The last six years have been the Golden Age of UMass Football. Ever since the hiring of Mark Whipple on December 16, 1997, the program has never settled for anything less than excellence. But the man who led UMass through that era will not longer be with the program, as Whipple announced last month that he has accepted a position as quarterbacks coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League.
"This is a great opportunity for me, and I am really looking forward to it," said Whipple. "The Steelers have tremendous history, and the NFL is the best league in the world. It will be a challenge for me, and I can not wait to get started."
As much as UMass fans must hate to see Whipple leave, no one can argue with him for taking a chance at coaching in the NFL. And it is not as if he is leaving the Minuteman program hanging, with little chance of future success. Whipple has developed UMass into one of the nation's top programs, and whoever replaces him as head coach will have all the ingredients necessary for immediate success.
This is not to say that Whipple will be an easy act to follow. Here are just a few of his accomplishments over the last six seasons:
* Led UMass to its first-ever national championship during the 1998 season, when the team posted a school-record 12 victories.
* Made back-to-back postseason appearances for only the second time in school history, as both the 1998 and 1999 teams advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs.
* Led the 2003 Minutemen to a 10-2 mark during the regular season, to set a new school record for victories before the playoffs.
* Named National Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association and Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette in 1998.
* Earned Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year honors in 2003.
* Selected as the New England Coach of the Year by the New England Football Writers and the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston in both 1998 and 2003.
* Posted five winning seasons in only six years as head coach.
* Coached nine different players who won first team All-America honors.
* Guided his teams to a share of the Atlantic 10 Conference title in 1999 and 2003.
* Finished his career with a 49-26, to rank second behind only Vic Fusia (59-32-2 / 1961 1970) on the school list for all-time coaching victories.
Well folks, that's what we could have had at the Heights instead of Jags. They like hunting in Wisconsin; let's pray we didn't get a Davie in the Headlights.