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FBS-bound UMass fires Kevin Morris

AMHERST, Mass. -- Massachusetts has fired football coach Kevin Morris.

Athletics director John McCutcheon announced in a statement Monday that Morris had been released from his contract after a 16-17 record in three seasons as coach of the Minutemen.

McCutcheon said he felt the program needed "new direction in leadership" as it makes the jump to the Football Bowl Subdivision as a football-only member of the Mid-American Conference next season.

Morris' contract had two more seasons.

The Minutemen started this season 5-3, but lost their final three games. That included a 34-17 loss to James Madison at home on Saturday to finish 5-6 in the school's last season in the Football Championship Subdivision.

McCutcheon says a committee will be formed to assist in a national search for a new coach.