UMass tabs Notre Dame's Molnar as coach

With the University of Massachusetts hoping it is on the way to building a new football tradition, it is turning to a school with as rich a football tradition as any for its new head coach.

Notre Dame offensive coordinator Charley Molnar will be named coach of the Minutemen on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

UMass, which is upgrading its program to the Bowl Subdivision, has scheduled a news conference for 4 p.m. at Gillette Stadium, where it will play its home games beginning next season.

The 50-year-old Molnar, a 28-year coaching veteran, quickly shot up UMass’ list of candidates after meeting with school officials over the weekend. He has been part of Irish coach Brian Kelly’s staff since 2006 (at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame) and has been offensive coordinator the last two seasons.

Molnar has coached at three schools -- Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan -- that are in the Mid-American Conference, in which UMass will play.

Other candidates for the job reportedly included Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown, Auburn recruiting coordinator Curtis Luper and Boston College defensive coordinator Bill McGovern.

Molnar replaces Kevin Morris, coach of the Minutemen for the last three seasons.