PHOTO: USA Today Sports
Randy Edsall took over the UConn football program in 1999 and had some ups and downs but when he left, the Huskies had won eight games (or more) in four straight seasons and had made four straight bowl trips. UConn seemed to be on solid ground.
Then they hired Paul Pasqualoni. Pasqualoni had last coached in college in 2004 at Syracuse where he had gone 16-18 in his last three years with no winning seasons. The hire of Pasqualoni was uninspired and that's what UConn looked like on the field under Pasqualoni as they went 5-7 in 2011 and did the same in 2012. In 2013, they started 0-4 under Pasqualoni including losses to FCS team Towson and Buffalo from the MAC.
When it came time to pick a new coach for UConn, you have to think that the fanbase didn't have a lot of confidence in the administration. To the administration's credit, they went after Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. Narduzzi, reportedly turned down the offer but that's ok as colleges rarely land their first choice for head coach.
This opened the door for Bob Diaco. Earlier this year, I wrote an article about six assistants who should be coaches in 2014. Both Narduzzi and Diaco were on that list. For UConn, a team that has been a middling Big East/AAC team in their recent past, landing one of the top six assistant coaching candidates is a great catch for them.
Being a defensive guy, Diaco is a perfect fit for UConn. Diaco was a big reason for the Irish's recent turnaround as their 2012 defense led them to the National Championship Game and Diaco won the Broyles Award for the top assistant coach in the Nation.
There are now two big questions for Diaco as he heads to UConn. The first is who will he get to turnaround an anemic Huskies offense. The second, if Diaco's is successful (which I believe he will be), how long can the Huskies keep him in the fold?
Check back this off-season for more in-depth coverage of the coaching carousel. When it stops spinning, we will dig deeper into the new coaching hires.