From the Vault: Edsall Leaves Behind A Better Program

The news that Randy Edsall is leaving UConn to take over the football program at the University of Maryland is certainly disappointing.  Moreover, there are numerous reports that Edsall’s handling of his departure following the Fiesta Bowl was less than ideal.  From a legal perspective, it’s interesting to note that Edsall’s buyout clause calls for him to pay $400,000 to leave UConn.

Considering this year’s BCS Bowl appearance, there is no arguing that Edsall has transformed the UConn football program.  The situation reminded me an article that I wrote last year, when Edsall was mentioned as a candidate for the Syracuse head coaching  job.  Here is that article:

The View from Section 131: Criticism of Randy Edsall is Unfair

UConn Head Football Coach Randy Edsall has denied interest in the head job at Syracuse.  Nevertheless, the rumors have persisted.  In fact, the Hartford Courant ran an article yesterday bearing the headline “Edsall Doesn’t Clarify Position on Coaching Vacancy.”

The cases of Nick Saban and Rich Rodriguez, whose hollow denials of interest in other coaching jobs, shortly before bolting for those very jobs, have jaded college football fans.  Maybe Connecticut fans and sports writers are merely preparing for life after Edsall.  Recent articles, however, provide the distinct impression that some are trying to build a case against Edsall, so that if he does leave, we can point out his deceit.  Others, however, just seem upset that Edsall engages in the time-honored and Belichick-approved practice of providing as little information to the media as possible.

Rather than allow this anti-Edsall sentiment to continue unabated, take a hard look at the facts:

  • Only 1 other school has moved from Division I-AA to Division I and earned an AP ranking faster
  • UConn is 1 of 5 teams to move from Division I-AA to Division I and have a .500 or better record in each of its first 3 years in Division I
  • In his 10th season, Edsall is the 13th longest tenured coach in Division I football
  • Rentschler Field is sold out for most home games
  • Huskies are now producing legitimate NFL players (Alfred Fincher, Deon Anderson, Tyvon Branch, Donald Thomas) and prospects (Darius Butler); in fact, 19 UConn football players have made it onto an NFL roster in the last 5 years
  • UConn is scheduling more challenging opponents, such as Notre Dame and Tennessee, which can only improve exposure and recruiting

Randy Edsall has coached UConn for 1o transformative seasons.  He has a contract to coach at UConn until 2012, with penalty provisions should he leave early.  Hopefully Edsall will remain at UConn for another decade.  But if he chooses to move on, can anyone seriously claim that he shortchanged UConn or its fans?  Edsall would leave UConn football in a strong position for continued success.  Rather than setting Edsall up to appear dishonest should he leave UConn, those interested in UConn football should appreciate what Edsall has accomplished.


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