The position opened last month, when offensive line coach John Carvin left the program. To fill the void left by Carvin, assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Kris Cinkovich, who previously coached the receivers, switched position groups and took over as offensive line coach.
Molnar, 52, will bring a wealth of experience when he joins the Vandal coaching staff. The 2014 season will be his 30th consecutive year coaching college football.
His latest gig was at UMASS, where in 2012 he was named head coach and faced the task of taking over a program that was making the transition from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision — formally known as Division I-AA and Division I-A, respectively.
In his two seasons with the Minutemen, Molnar’s teams lacked the talent to compete at an FBS level. In the 2013 season opener, UMASS received a 45-0 beat down from the Wisconsin Badgers. Later that season, against conference foe Central Michigan, Molnar’s team failed to get on the scoreboard again and lost 37-0. In his two seasons as head coach, Molnar compiled a record of 2-22 — UMASS was his only head coaching gig.
Molnar started his coaching career in 1984 at his alma mater, Lock Haven University. He spent two years there and worked with wide receivers, tight ends, running backs and kickers.
In the 27 years prior to the UMASS job, Molnar was an assistant for 12 different programs and eight of those came after 2001. While it appears Molnar is a well-traveled coach, he spent the majority of his career in the Midwest at schools, such as Eastern Illinois – 2001, Eastern Michigan – 2002, Western Michigan – 2003-04, Indiana State – 2005, Central Michigan – 2006, Cincinnati – 2007-09 and Notre Dame – 2010-11.
It was in 2006 when Molnar’s career started to gain traction. He was hired by Brian Kelly at Central Michigan, and followed him to Cincinnati and Notre Dame. Together they constructed one of the most potent offenses of that time.
Even though Kelly called the plays, Molnar was a key component to the success of the three programs. In 2006, CMU averaged 29.7 points per game. In three seasons at Cincinnati, the offense averaged 33.2 points per game and in two seasons at Notre Dame, 24.9 points per game.
Molnar coached receivers, quarterbacks and was the offensive coordinator throughout his six seasons with Kelly. In that time, they had four quarterbacks who passed for more than 3,000 yards in a single season, had a record of 59-21 and made two BCS bowl appearances.
Molnar is known for his wide-open spread offense. It will be interesting to see if head coach Paul Petrino adapts any of Molnar’s schemes and integrates it into Idaho’s offense — which consisted of various formations last year, everything from pistol, shotgun, ace, I-formation and others.
The hire of Molnar will surely come with intrigue and might have exceeded some people’s expectations. Idaho, coming off a 1-11 season, an APR bowl ban.
Korbin McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org