Connecticut moved quickly to replace Bob Diaco. It is bringing back a familiar face, too.
The school announced Wednesday it is bringing in Randy Edsall — yes, that Randy Edsall — as head coach. Edsall, who currently serves as the director of football research for the Detroit Lions, was UConn’s head coach from 1999-2010 until he left for the head-coaching job at Maryland.
He will be formally introduced as head coach on Friday at 11 a.m. ET, the school said.
“We are excited to welcome Coach Edsall back to the University of Connecticut,” said UConn president Susan Herbst. “He possesses the passion, experience and commitment to lead our program and develop our student-athletes, both on and off the field.
“Coach Edsall is the right fit for our university, football program and student-athletes,” said Benedict. “He led UConn to its most successful period in the history of our football program, and I believe he will provide consistent leadership and long-term success once again.”
The news comes just two days after the school announced it was moving on from Diaco, effective Jan. 2. Diaco, the former Notre Dame defensive coordinator, went 11-29 in three seasons with the program. The Huskies finished 3-9 this season after going 6-7 and reaching a bowl in 2015.
Edsall guided UConn’s transition from the FCS (then I-AA) level to the FBS when he was hired back in December 1998. He coached the team in its final FCS season and four years as an independent before the Huskies joined the Big East in 2004. UConn won two Big East titles (2007 and 2010) and played in five bowl games under Edsall’s watch.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to rejoin and lead the UConn program,” Edsall said. “I want to thank President Herbst, Athletic Director David Benedict and the rest of the administration for believing I am the right person to build this program and develop its student-athletes. I look forward to working with David, our student-athletes and the entire athletic department.”
Most notably, the Huskies appeared in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma. After the game, a 48-20 loss, Edsall controversially bolted for Maryland without speaking with his players.
“Certainly as I look back on it, I wish I had done things differently in that instance,” Edsall said. “I completely understand and respect that there are loyal fans, supporters and former players that still have not forgotten and it will take time to forgive. I have many incredible memories of my time at UConn and I hope the fans do too. It is my goal to get us back to that level of success and I hope that all of the Husky fans out there will be along for the ride.”
Overall at UConn, Edsall had a 74-70 record.
Edsall led Maryland to bowl games in 2013 and 2014, but he was fired midway through the 2015 season. He had just a 22-34 record with the Terps.
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