Susquehannock grad Edsall returning as UConn head coach

Steve Heiser
  • Randy Edsall has been named the next head football coach at UConn.
  • It will be Edsall's second stint as the UConn head coach.
  • Edsall is a graduate of Susquehannock HIgh School. He grew up in Glen Rock.

Susquehannock High School graduate Randy Edsall will return to his football coaching roots.

University of Connecticut athletic director David Benedict announced Wednesday that Edsall will become the head football coach of the Huskies for the second time in his career.

Susquehannock High School graduate Randy Edsall is returning as the head football coach at UConn.

Edsall was previously the Huskies' head coach from 1999 through 2010.

A news conference is scheduled for Friday.

"Coach Edsall is the right fit for our university, football program and student-athletes," Benedict said in a news release. "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."

Edsall will replace Bob Diaco, who was fired Monday. Diaco was 11-26 in three seasons at UConn and is owed a $3.4 million buyout.

Five-year deal: According to the UConn news release, the terms of Edsall's five-year contract will include $1 million annually in guaranteed compensation, with the opportunity to earn bonuses based on performance and achievement. The buyouts for the university and Edsall will mirror each other beginning at $3 million and decreasing $1 million each year to zero after the third year.

"It is an honor to have the opportunity to rejoin and lead the UConn program," Edsall said in the news release. "I want to thank ... (the UConn) administration for believing I am the right person to build this program and develop its student-athletes."

Previous stint at UConn: During his previous stint at UConn, the Huskies twice won Big East championships under Edsall and reached the Fiesta Bowl following the 2010 season. It was their fourth consecutive bowl.

Edsall used that success to land the head coaching job at Maryland just hours later. At the time, Edsall called Maryland his dream job. It was a school he grew up rooting for. Maryland's College Park campus is located about 75 miles from his childhood home in Glen Rock.

Edsall, 58, was 74-70 in 12 seasons at UConn, making him the winningest coach in school history. UConn's three bowl wins have all come under Edsall.

EDITORIAL: Susquehannock grad Edsall had troubled tenure with Terps

At Maryland, he was 22-24 and fired six games into his fifth season. Since then, Edsall had been working as the Detroit Lions' director of football research since January.

He was on the practice field with the Lions on Wednesday, shortly after his hiring at UConn was announced.

Detroit quarterback Dan Orlovsky, who played for Edsall at Connecticut, was pleased with the hire.

“I think he’s one of those guys that probably fits that place better than anybody, so I’m excited for him,” he said.

Orlovsky was asked if Edsall’s challenge at UConn would be harder this time around.

“Oh, no. … I mean, he was trying to take a program that was a basketball school and a I-AA program and trying to take it to become somewhat of a football school and into a major college football conference, and he did it in a short period of time,” Orlovsky said. “He’s a really good coach, great recruiter. I have really high expectations for him to do a really good job there.”

During his first stint at UConn, Edsall presided over the Huskies' transition from Division I-AA (now the Football Championship Subdivision) to Division I-A (now the Football Bowl Subdivision).

Controversial departure from UConn: His departure from UConn was controversial. After losing to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2010 season, Edsall left abruptly to become the Terps' coach. He did not address his UConn players before he left for Maryland and he did not fly home with the Huskies after the bowl.

"Certainly as I look back on it, I wish I had done things differently in that instance," Edsall said in the news release. "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."

Praise for his UConn years: Edsall, however, also garnered accolades while at UConn for making the Huskies relevant on college football's highest level and earning a major bowl bid.

He was also praised for the manner in which he handled his program and kept the program together in the aftermath of the 2009 stabbing death of player Jasper Howard.

Additionally, Edsall oversaw consistent academic success, regularly posting Academic Progress Rates well above the national average and at one time leading all NCAA Division I-A public schools in graduating more than 90 percent of its student-athletes.

The Huskies were 3-9 last season (1-7 in the American Athletic Conference).

Edsall began his career as a graduate assistant at Syracuse University, his alma mater. Since that time he has coached for more than 36 years in college and the NFL. He and his wife Eileen have two adult children.

Some information for this story was provided by the Hartford Courant through the Tribune New Service. The Associated Press contributed to this story.