UConn reversed course and fired Bob Diaco. In a decisive move to bring back excitement after 2016’s putrid offensive output, the school is re-hiring longtime UConn coach Randy Edsall.
Edsall built the UConn football program. He brought the Huskies into FBS. He racked up six 8/9 win seasons and a BCS bowl bid before leaving for his “dream job” at Maryland. Edsall went just 10-24 in conference play with the Terps and was fired during his fifth season.
At Maryland, Edsall went just 10-24 in conference play and was fired during his fifth season. He was hired as “director of football research/special projects” by the Detroit Lions in January.
UConn went for the hot, young coordinator hire with Bob Diaco and flamed out. So, it’s not surprising the school replaced him with an experienced head coach. That said, hiring Edsall again has to be dispiriting for UConn fans, not just because he’s the man who once spurned them.
The AAC, despite being left in the cold by the playoff, has been a cradle for vibrant head coaches in recent years. Tom Herman (Houston), Justin Fuente (Memphis), Matt Rhule (Temple), and Willie Taggart (South Florida) revitalized programs and, in some cases, redefined what was possible. Chad Morris (SMU) and Scott Frost (UCF) may be on that track. With Edsall, UConn opted for baseline competence over hope.
UConn’s major trouble has been offense. Edsall is renowned for boring, unproductive offense. He has had one team in his last eight seasons as a head coach finish Top 60 in yards/play offense (Maryland finished 55th in 2013). His world-beating 2010 Fiesta Bowl team at UConn averaged just 4.94 yards/play on offense (ranking 98th nationally).
The Huskies started the coaching search a month too late, cast the net too narrowly seeking an immediate resolution, and ended up with a predictable, disappointing result. Randy Edsall may make things better at UConn. But, it was hard for them to get worse.