AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts coach Mark Whipple is stepping down after his second stint leading the Minutemen produced just 16 victories in five seasons.

UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford announced in a news release Wednesday that the school and the 61-year-old Whipple had worked out a mutually agreed upon separation.

Whipple had two years remaining on a contract that pays $500,000 annually in base salary. UMass finished this season 4-8, the same mark as last year, after there was optimism the struggling independent program could take a modest step forward.

Whipple coached UMass from 1998-2003 when it was competing at the FCS level. He went 49-26 during that stint, with a national title in 1998.

UMass transitioned to FBS in 2012, but has won only 18 games since and been unable to join a football conference.


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