Defensive Coordinator / Safeties Coach
Special Teams Coordinator / Outside Linebackers
Longtime college and NFL coach Mark Michaels was announced by head coach Mark Whipple as the UMass football program's special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach in January 2015. Michaels returns to familiar territory as he helped the Minutemen win the I-AA National Championship as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator in 1998.
Michaels has spent a large portion of his career coaching alongside Whipple since the pair first worked together in 1988 at the University of New Haven. Since first starting as a graduate assistant in New Haven from 1987-90, Michaels has also worked at Brown (1993-97), at UMass (1998), with the Cleveland Browns (1999-00), with the Seattle Seahawks (2001-04), with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2005-06) and at Fordham (2007).
Prior to being announced as UMass' new special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach, Michaels was the defensive and special teams coordinator and a health teacher at Ridgeview High School in Orange Park, Fla., since 2008.
Over the past six years, Michaels helped Ridgeview reach the Florida state playoffs three consecutive years (2010-12), advance to the third round of the 4A Playoffs in 2008 and set school records for wins (9, 2009), blocked kicks (2009) and return touchdowns (2009).
While at Fordham, where he served with current UMass defensive coordinator Tom Masella, Michaels helped the Rams reach the FCS playoffs in 2007. That season Fordham had the nation's No. 1 net punt and punt coverage rank for both the FCS and BCS divisions. In addition to his work as co-special teams coordinator, he coached the defensive line for a defense which ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the Patriot League for tackles for loss and quarterback sacks, respectively.
His return to the collegiate ranks came after spending eight years coaching in the NFL. He received his start in the professional ranks with the Cleveland Browns in 1999 before being promoted to Special teams coordinator in 2000.
Michaels then moved on to the Seattle Seahwaks where he rose to special teams coordinator after spending three years as an assistant special teams coach. During his tenure there, Seattle made the playoffs twice, Alex Bannister was named to the Pro Bowl (2003), the Seahwaks finished 1st in the NFL for punt return yardage defense (2003) and Josh Brown was 2nd in the NFL for field goal percentage (23-of-25, 92.0%, 2004).
His last stint in the NFL was with Jacksonville during the 2005-06 season as assistant special teams coach. There he helped the Jaguars rank No. 1 during the 2005 season in overall offensive and defensive drive start position and Maurice Jones Drew ranked 3rd in the NFL in kickoff return average in 2006.
Prior to his NFL coaching career, Michaels was the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach at UMass during the 1998 I-AA Championship run. That season, he helped linebackers Khari Samuel and Kole Ayi flourish. Samuel finished the year as a First-Team All-America pick, while Ayi set the UMass single-season tackle record.
That marked the third time he had served with Whipple. The pair worked together while at Brown where Michaels was the linebackers, secondary and special teams coach from 1993-97.
His collegiate coaching career started in 1987 at New Haven where he was a graduate assistant coaching the defensive line and linebackers.
Between his stints at New Haven and Brown, Michaels was the head coach of the Helsinki (Finland) Roosters during the 1991 campaign, leading the team to the Finnish Maple League title. He then served for one season as linebackers coach for the Utah Pioneers of the Professional Spring Football League before entering private business as an account executive for Dun & Bradstreet.
Michaels is a 1986 graduate of the University of Connecticut where he was a two-time All-New England first-team pick and the Yankee Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 1985. His 13 quarterback sacks in 1984 is still tied as the UConn single-season record while his 27 career sacks ranks second in program history. He signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Cardinals in 1986 before beginning his coaching career. He and his wife, Mary, have two children, Grace and Max.
Assistant Coach / Cornerbacks
Steve Costello is in his third season as a position coach at UMass. After serving as Tight Ends Coach in 2015, Costello moved over to the defensive side, coaching corners. No stranger to Amherst, he was a four-year letterman for the Minutemen and also spent time as a graduate assistant during the 2014 season.
During his time as a graduate assistant and an intern with UMass football, he worked with the wide receivers and the defensive backs. UMass' passing offense improved nationally from 116th in 2013 to 19th in 2014.
A 2004 team captain and preseason All-America candidate, Costello totaled 12 career interceptions, 12th all-time in school history.
Costello earned his undergraduate degree from UMass in sociology in May 2014.
Assistant Coach / Defensive Line
Assistant Coach / Running Backs
Head coach Mark Whipple announced the addition of Darrius Smith to the University of Massachusetts football program as the squad's running backs coach during the Spring of 2015. Smith came to Amherst following an eight-year stint in the same position at Villanova and more than 20 years of collegiate coaching experience overall.
Prior to his arrival at UMass, Smith turned the Wildcats running game into one of the best in the Colonial Athletic Association. In five different seasons (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014), he spearheaded the program to rushing offenses that led the conference, highlighted by the 2012 campaign in which the team tallied 252.8 yards per game. During this period, Smith also guided several players to All-CAA honors and 1,000-yard seasons.
The 1995 graduate of Frostburg State University also made stops in collegiate coaching capacities at Northeastern (2004-06), James Madison (2002-04), Idaho (2001-02), Indiana (Pa.) (2000-01) and New Mexico Highlands (1995-00). Smith began his coaching career at Frostburg State as a student assistant after a career as a defensive back, during which he posted 15 interceptions. Additionally, he received an NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the summer of 2005.
Smith holds a Bachelor's Degree in Health and Physical Education.
Assistant Coach / Inside Linebackers / Recruiting Coordinator
Charles Walker is entering his fourth season with the UMass football staff. He was the outside linebackers coach for the 2014 season and moved to inside linebackers prior to the 2015 season.
In 2012 and 2013, Walker was a member of the Vanderbilt staff with the title of defensive quality control coach. In 2013, the Commodores ranked second in interceptions in the Southeastern Conference (18), led in interception return yards (277), and tied for fourth in sacks (28).
Walker was a member of the Nichols College (Mass.) coaching staff for four years in a number of capacities, including linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator.
No stranger to Amherst, Walker was a four-year letterman for UMass. In addition to being named a captain in 2007, he was named a CAA First-Team selection and a New England Writers All-Star.
Walker appeared in 50 games and started 36, totaling 340 total tackles, eight sacks and 15 TFL. He tied the UMass single-game high for tackles (23), a record he shares with John McKeown. Walker also tallied 10 career games in which he earned 10 or more tackles.
In 2006, he earned Atlantic 10 Second-Team honors and was named honorable mention for the Don Hansen All-Northeast Region Team. That season, he also helped lead the Minutemen to the NCAA Division I-AA Championship Game under head coach Don Brown.
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Walker holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from UMass.
Passing Game Coordinator / Wide Receivers
After a stint at Pittsburgh as a defensive graduate assistant and video assistant, Spencer Whipple came to Massachusetts beginning with the 2014 season as tight ends coach for the Minutemen. Prior to the 2015 season, Whipple moved to Wide Receivers Coach, and became the passing game coordinator.
Son of head coach Mark Whipple, Spencer is no stranger to Amherst, being raised in the area during his father's first tenure directing the UMass football program (1998-2003). Additionally, he spent one season (2008) with the Minutemen as a quarterback alongside Liam Coen who is now Massachusetts' quarterbacks coach.
His playing career also included stops at Pittsburgh and Miami (FL).
In 2007, he walked-on to the Pitt squad, then played in each game at Miami in 2010 and 2011 as holder and backup quarterback.
During his senior season in 2011, he received the Mariutto Family Scholar-Athlete Award and, as a holder, helped lead the Hurricanes to a 39-for-39 PAT rate and 11-for-14 field goal rate.
As a student-athlete at Pine-Richland High School (Pa.), he threw for nearly 1,500 yards during his senior season, including 11 touchdowns. The run helped compose the Rams' 11-1 record and subsequent Greater Allegheny Conference Championship. That season, he earned "Fabulous 22" North honors from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Whipple holds a degree from Miami in Sociology.
Assistant Coach / Offensive Line
Assistant Coach / Tight Ends
Assistant Director of Football Operations
J.P. Correia is coming off his second season as assistant director of operations for UMass football. He moved into a full-time roll after serving as a student assistant for three years.
Correia coordinates and executes day-to-day operations, travel and weekly plans, plane manifests, travel squads, hotel rooming, busses, itineraries and travel cards and police escorts.
His previous professional experience includes sales and marketing with the Providence Bruins, an internship with the Brockton Rox and gameday operations with the Worcester Wildcats and Springfield Falcons.
Correia earned his undergraduate degree in sport management from UMass in May 2015.
Strength & Conditioning Coach
Joe Connolly joined the University of Massachusetts Athletics staff in January 2016 and serves as the Minutemen's Director of Sports Performance/Head Football Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Defensive Graduate Assistant
After a tenure as a student assistant working with all aspects of the defense, Matt Schell was named defensive graduate assistant for Massachusetts football in January 2016.
As an undergraduate, Schell worked as a video assistant with the New England Patriots. He was responsible for filming practices, individual workouts and games for the coaching staff. He worked with XOS computer software to digitize, edit and upload film and installed and operated the ICE software to assist coaches and scouts with specialized assignments.
Schell earned a dual undergraduate degree in finance and sport management from Massachusetts in May 2015.
Defensive Graduate Assistant
Offensive Graduate Assistant
Assistant Coach / Quarterbacks
After serving as a Graduate Assistant at UMass in 2015, Scott Woodward is entering his second season as the Quarterbacks Coach. He originally joined the staff in July 2015, working with the quarterbacks and wide receivers, while assisting with all facets of the offense.
He returns to Amherst after coaching stints at Farleigh Dickinson (2013-15) and Westfield State (2010-13). At FDU, he served as offensive coordinator, academic coordinator, travel coordinator and assistant strength and conditioning coordinator. He was responsible for in-game play calling while working with the quarterbacks. He was an offensive graduate assistant at WSC, charged with coaching the quarterbacks and the offensive skill positions. He was also the fundraising coordinator and managed home game event operations.
Woodward was a four-year letterman with the Minutemen and, as a senior, completed 50-of-93 for 613 yards with two touchdowns and rushed 22 times for 62 yards. He served as back-up to all-time passing leader Liam Coen and holder for four seasons. He was a member of the 2006 Division I-AA National Championship team.
He was a three-year starting quarterback for Mahar Regional High School and led the Senators to back-to-back Division III Super Bowl titles. A three-time All-Western Mass selection and a first-team all-state selection as a senior, he threw for more than 4,000 yards in his career and 46 touchdowns passes.
A native of Wendell, Mass., Woodward earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from UMass in 2009.
Director of Operations
Bio Coming Soon!