Posts Tagged ‘randy edsall’

Randy Edsall To Maryland: My Take

// January 4th, 2011 // 10 Comments » // Uncategorized

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They were waiting for him to arrive.  The 2011 Fiesta Bowl was barely in the rear-view mirror, with Oklahoma holding the trophy, holding their fairy tale ending.  So the 25 players and assistant coaches, sitting in aisle and window seats were just waiting.  Assistant coaches received a call from the operations director, “No suits on the flight, head man won’t be riding back.”  A lapse in the dress code?  Something had to be going wrong.

Over the past decade of UConn football he’s been known by many names; Savior, Leader, Headman, Randy, Coach,  During that same time period, the grumblings of other coaching offers came and passed, with UConn, it’s players and staff (and alumni) feeling safe.  They’d found the man that took them from toiling in obscurity, to Division I, then the Big East, two shares of a conference championship, five bowl games, and most importantly guiding them through the traumatic death of Jasper Howard.  So where was he now?

Apparently to the ACC.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Randy Edsall since my recruitment in 2004, 5 seasons under his tutelage and now as a working professional straddling a delicate line between media personality, blogger, and alumnus; ending up in his cross hairs for breaking “stories” about a coaching change and the proud recipient of several voice mails and stern calls, the take away message was, “If  you want the story, I’ll give it to you.”  No, the irony of that moment is not lost on me now.

I sit here in Arizona, less than 24 hours removed from “the announcement” in a hotel room with several alumni, all texting and calling and reaching out to former coaches and players, one part consolement, another part searching for justification, explanation.  After tapping the resources of our contact lists, which includes athletic department officials, former and current coaches/players the consensus was: No one knew.

Not assistant coaches waiting on a plane, athletic department officials now scrambling for a replacement, not players sitting in hotel rooms, or recruits scattered across the country.  No one.

For this I feel sad, I feel betrayed, I feel a little lost.  Then again, this is the business of college football.  For a long time I’ve had the distinct pleasure of looking at the coaching carousel in the NCAA, hunched over a laptop striking keys with disdain, turning my nose up at the notion that my alma mater (the birthplace of FWG) would ever be a ship under a different captain.  My ignorance was bliss, as I argued with fellow alums and media members that, “Randy has already turned down offers from Notre Dame, Syracuse and Georgia Tech…if he didn’t take those proverbial dream jobs he’ll never leave UConn.  Not to mention he’s got the AD in his corner, a brand-new facility, and the hearts/minds of the Connecticut population.”  I’d also start pulling on the heart strings of his tenure in Storrs, “He’s built something there, he’ll be a lifer…”

Those words now echo with a twang of stupidity, the sting of blissful ignorance.  In reaching out to coaches former and current, a new light was shed.  Those jobs he “turned down”?  Well, he was third on the list for Notre Dame (they wanted Brian Kelly from the beginning).  Georgia Tech?  That was a negotiating move with UConn.  And those lovable losers with all that tradition at Syracuse?  They wouldn’t pay him the kind of money he was looking for.  So as it turns out, Maryland was a real opportunity to jump at, and he did.

There are a lot of things about the decision that I don’t agree with, namely the fact that his coworkers, the men he’d shared 70 and 80 hour weeks with for over a decade had no clue; not so much as a text message.  Yes, these are people who work in a fickle profession, but they are men with kids and families.  That hurts.  The lessons I learned from my time with Coach Edsall are many: hardwork, determination, unrelenting commitment to a goal, but above all else: do the right thing all the time.

I wish this decision was that black and white: did Randy live by his mantra?  Was this the right thing?  Unfortunately life is not that cut and dry, there are layers; shades of gray.  The Maryland job makes sense on a monetary level, but also on a personal one.  With Coach Edsall’s father passing away in 2008 there has been a strong draw to get closer to home, closer to his family.  I understand that emotion as a person, especially knowing Coach Edsall and his commitment as a family man; it was something I loved about him and a big part of what brought me to Connecticut.

I remember an exact conversation on my recruiting visit, sitting in his office as my Dad asked, “I can’t pick up a paper without seeing your name mentioned for every and any coaching position.  Will you stay here at UConn?  What’s to keep you from leaving?”  Edsall looked my my family in the eye and said, “I can’t tell you that if the right opportunity presented itself I wouldn’t leave.  But I can also say I’m not actively looking to leave UConn.  We’re trying to build something here…”

That was a stark contrast to the answers of coaches across the football ranks, from the Atlantic 10 to ACC who told me, “You know son, I see myself here forever.  This is my home.”  Precisely all of those coaches have moved on.  So if Edsall kept his word, if he spent another 6 years building the program, if he thought his work was done, then why do we feel slighted?

I’m sure some of it has to do with the way it was handled; coaches kept in the dark, or possibly the direct contrast to how Jordan Todman had to stand up and address the team about his NFL intentions yet Edsall remained silent. But I have a feeling it is because UConn, while a program that has officially arrived,  is still one in its infancy of its history.  UConn is in the process of creating its own traditions, learning the lessons of major college football, writing the story of football in Connecticut.  Unfortunately, this is one such chapter no one wanted to read.  UConn having known so much success, has only known one man.  All major programs have coaching changes, this was UConn’s first major transition.

I wish Edsall nothing but the best (except for one week in 2012 and 2013) and I know he will have an uphill battle against the media in Connecticut (nothing like an easy target).  I also know he’ll bring the model for success he instituted at UConn to UMD.  The bottom line is that this stings, and I’m not sure I agree with the way he handled the respective careers of his staff (then again I’m not sure that’s even his responsibility, but after 10 years I have the inclination that it is).  Things could have been worse, he could have pulled a Brian Kelly and abandon his team before their moment in the limelight.  This wasn’t executed cleanly by any means, I won’t contest that.  I won’t even say I’m in anyone’s corner.  I am a product of Randy’s belief in me, a student of Hank Hughes and Todd Orlando’s and I owe an untold amount to Drew Wilson and Jerry Martin, but mostly I’m a UConn guy and I always will be.
For the players, and fans like me, remember that it’s about the University, not one Coach.

UPDATE:
UConn Strength Coach Drew Wilson, previously rumored to be replacing Jerry Martin as UConn’s head of strength and conditioning has accepted a position as the head strength coach in charge of football at the University of Maryland .

Head Coach Randy Edsall Accepts Head Coaching Position At Maryland

// January 3rd, 2011 // 9 Comments » // Uncategorized

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Confirmed.  It’s official.  The head man is gone.  Now it’s closing in on Sunday night here in Arizona (and FWG with Mike Hicks and Dan Ryan in tow).  I’ll be penning my full thoughts on the matter tomorrow (stay tuned, stay eager, America).  But I’d like to let you know that not only am I on top of the situation, having spoken to every member of the UConn coaching staff that will still take my call, but I’m also trying to gather my own feelings on the matter.

There are a lot of angry current players, some dejected former ones, but a lot curious if not bewildered fans.  Again, full analysis and perspective coming tomorrow, but in case your wondering:  I’m not mad.  I get it (sort of).

If this pre-blog isn’t enough for you, and you need some tidbits and inside info to keep you happy until tomorrow please follow me on twitter @TheFatWhiteGuy

UConn Defeats Pitt, Among Other Gems

// November 14th, 2010 // 4 Comments » // Uncategorized

I had the pleasure of being at the game.  It was awesome.  But not as awesome as this.

News Out Of UConn: Edsall Coaching Safeties…The Player’s Perspective

// August 12th, 2010 // 10 Comments » // Uncategorized

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ESPN:
Edsall coached defensive backs early in his career at Syracuse and then with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. UConn appears loaded this season at most positions, but safety could be the weak link, and Edsall is regarded as one of the game’s best teachers.

Normally I don’t like to agree with the “media types” because so often “they” have it very wrong.  But on this one, they are right.  Edsall taking over coaching duties for the safeties is the best move he could have made as a “CEO” (his words, not mine).  The safeties, with the departure of Vaughn and McClain are a weak point, this much you already know.  But, here at FWG we (I) like to go the extra mile.  To answer the question you probably won’t see answered anywhere else which is, how do the player’s feel?

Remember a few years back when Coach Lyndon Johnson had some medical issues and was sidelined during Spring football, Edsall installed himself as the Husky linebacker coach.  Well like was miserable and excellent for those guys.  Imagine being held to an even higher level of accountability (the head coach is now running your position).  In that sense it is torture, the cold sweats, the nervousness, the man that holds your fate in his hands is personally evaluating every snap you take.  I can even remember linebacker Scott Lutrus telling me, “I can feel the head man’s breath on my neck.”  But on the other side of it, it presents an opportunity learn from one of the best teachers in the game.  It is also a chance to see your coach as a person.

So often in college football, you are close with your academic staff, position coach, and of course strength and conditioning.  The head coach is wrapped up in all matters of the organization and unless you are an integral part of the team’s success (hat tip, Donny Brown) then the time you spend one on one is minimal (unless you’ve skipped class, then it is all too personal).  Edsall will be holding these guys to a level of accountability they’ve never seen (especially for such a young group).  But he is also the best man for the job, and for that they are incredibly lucky.

I Dropped The Ball On Monday….

// March 16th, 2010 // 4 Comments » // Uncategorized

alyssa-tosoni-2You know in the Blogosphere, Monday is the most important day of the week.  Its the time when everyone gets back on their computer and says “Gee this raging hangover sucks, I’m going to zone out for the next 4 to 5 hours, contemplate some of these life choices, pretend I’m doing work and read Thoughts From A Fat White Guy”.  Well congrats on achieving middle-management, you are the reason we do like 20,000 hits on a Monday and by Friday we barely register a blip.  Well, imagine how bad I feel that yesterday I didn’t post any fresh content.

Let’s say I had my own “demons” to deal with after St. Patrick’s day festivities in Boston.  I never want to see that many angry, drunk, pale skinned individuals in one place ever again….or unless I’m ever at a UVA football game again.

See, I had to drive back to Rochester, NY to see the family (I call it keeping up appearances).  Not only that but with the NFL site such a huge success, we’ve decided to go forth and spew our opinions all over Major League Baseball….so we’re prepping the launch of Thoughts From a Fat White Guy: MLB Edition. Thus beginning another ridiculous chapter in my obscure career.

That’s all for now, enjoy the visual stimulation, and I appreciate your continued support of what we (the royal we, dude) are trying to do here:  Provide journalistically irresponsibly opinions on college and professional sports, while watching our arteries slowly  clog.

Cheers.

Oh, Some Final Thoughts:

I saw Brady Quinn got traded and Jakey D got resigned.  I wish someone would pay me $20 million to be mediocre at my job.  Instead, they pay me nothing, and I’m still mediocre.

I received a call from Coach Randy Edsall this morning.  For those new to the site (try and keep up), he’s my former head coach.  Even though its been almost 2 years since he’s been in control of my every move, the phone rings, I see its him and my heart just drops.  “No! No! No more 6am runs….no…I didn’t miss breakfast check.”  I’ll chalk it up to the amount of undying respect I have for the man, but I could do without the self-soiling that occurrs in that brief moment of terror.

A Coaching Vacancy? And Randy Edsall Is A Candidate? You’re Kidding.

// December 2nd, 2009 // 3 Comments » // Uncategorized

rummor-millAccording to NBCSports.com:

Finally, a new name to kick around a little bit when it comes to the Notre Dame coaching vacancy.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a source has informed them that a Notre Dame representative has been in contact with UConn head coach Randy Edsall in order to gauge his interest in the position.
The Hartford Courant, on the other hand, is reporting that their sources are not hearing that the two sides have spoken.
Edsall certainly doesn’t have the “star” power of a Bob Stoops or Brian Kelly, but he would certainly be an interesting coaching path for the Irish to take.
The 11-year Huskies coach has been at UConn since their switch to Div. 1-A in 1999, and has overseen the construction of a solid BCS program.  His coaching job this season, especially how he held the football program together in the wake of the Jasper Howard tragedy, has brought kudos and plaudits to Edsall and raised his national profile.
Has that profile been raised enough to make him a viable candidate for an opening such as Notre Dame?  Given his defensive background, and the Irish’s utter lack of defensive prowess, his candidacy most certainly should be taken seriously by the school.

Look, I’ve been in the locker room for a lot of these rumor and suspicions and its all heresay.  While Edsall is definitely a good Catholic, I don’t think he’ll be taking that job anytime soon.  Which, at the current rate of sin, should cost him about 4 Hail Mary’s and an Our Father or two.

[Special thanks to Mike for the tip.]

UConn’s Win Over Notre Dame Reveals The Real Randy Edsall

// November 26th, 2009 // 7 Comments » // Uncategorized

I had a very telling experience here in St. John, while at a beach side bar, I met a guy who worked for the Hartford Housing Authority (or something close to that).  Anyway, conversations between two men, wearing nothing more than glorified loin clothes can be forced at best.  However, he had a Notre Dame hat on, so I figured I’d give him a good natured ribbing.  Turns out he’s a UConn fan and, like so many good men, was married to a Notre Dame fan.  That’s not the point here.  The point is, he asked me what I thought about Randy Edsall.  It surprised me, that a lot of emotion and words surfaced, that I had no problem sharing with this complete stranger.  Coach Edsall is a national figure, a real coach’s coach, I told him.  I said, it was frustrating as a player, who at times wanted to cut corners, to have a coach who was, by definition, not a corner cutter.  He always did things the right way.  Not to mention he has an unwavering work ethic and the emotional/moral capacity to lead, not from a place of rah-rah’s-go-get-em’s, but from the example set by working 18 hour days, year round.   I knew it when I was a player, and then fan, media, through this seasons most tragic of circumstances, learned that he was a guiding light, spiritual rock.  At the height of all “this”– a pain that rarely seems to fade, he was bringing all of UConn and college football through the most difficult of times.  I got the feeling that this “answer” was more than this guy was expecting or wanted, but it was the truth.  Then furthering my opinion of the man, I got a text message back from him after the game to the effect of, “wish you could have been there, I know your parents had a great time”

UConn is, in my opinion, the best 5-6 team in the country.  Not that wins can heal what happened, but, man, in the fourth quarter I couldn’t stand watching those games get away.  Didn’t we deserve one?  It was almost as if something bigger was building.  Then, there it is: UConn and Notre Dame, playing in a football game that just a few seasons earlier would have seemed impossible.  UConn could win? Inconceivable.  On Senior Day at Notre Dame?  Now your just talking crazy.  And sure enough, down 14-0, coming back to win in Double OT.  I smell a Disney Movie in the making.  You couldn’t have scripted it better.  I was in a tropical local bar, screaming at a television, proud to be a husky.  Missing those days.  I was flooded with text messages, talking to the guys who, as Scott Lutrus said it earlier in the week, weren’t surprised they went down there and won.  No one understands UConn football’s mentality, except UConn football, and thats the way they (we) like it.

Kill, Romance, Marry: Your Road Trip Guide To Football

// November 13th, 2009 // 5 Comments » // Rob Lunn, Uncategorized

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Perhaps you’ve played the game on some long road trip with your buddies, weaving your way through the comedic obstacles til the inevitable occurs, “Kill, romance or marry,  Ryan’s Mom, Coach Baker, Ghandi”.  Tough, and hilarious all the same.  Well, today taking a look around the college football landscape I’m going to throw out a few names, and my own Kill, romance, and marry.  Feel free to join in in the comments section, which lately has been a great outlet for my “readership”……”I can’t believe they actually pay you for this drivelYes, I can’t believe it either, sir.

Here we go.
rich-rodriguezRich Rodriguez.  Kill.
As with all things Malafronte, I am going to agree with him on this one.  Despite (or because of) his Ralph Maccio/Scott Baio-esque good looks, hes dead on with how everyone should be feeling about good ol Dick-Rod right now:

40 consecutive winning seasons and 33 straight bowl appearances, the Wolverines are on the verge of a losing record for the second time in two years since Rich Rodriguez took over. It’s sort of like if the 2009 Yankees, with all the talent and money they spent, had to battle with Baltimore to the final day of the season to stay out of the cellar in the AL East — for a second straight year. Still, Michigan’s athletic director is asking fans to be patient with Rich-Rod. Hmm. I’m sure that directive will settle them down.

[Runway Ramblings]

randy-grossRandy Edsall.  Marry.
Do you take this man to be  your lawfully wedded coach?  In two point conversions and overtimes?  In personal fouls and new offensive coordinators? To have before practice and after meetings?  In ACL tears and sprained ankles, as long as your eligibility is active?  I do.
Coach Edsall has been a guiding light for UConn this season.  His job description changing drastically this past October.  Part head coach, part mentor, part emotional and spiritual rock, he’s a great coach, who still (trust me) has his players fighting for every inch on the football field.  UConn is 15 points away from being undefeated.

broncoBYU Head Coach, Bronco Mendenhall. Romance.
I have a few young kids that read this blog.  “Romance”…you get it.
Although I’ve violated a few Christian principles insinuating such a relationship, those “principals” are on loose ground here in Massachusetts anyway.  Bronco, in concurrence with his kick-ass name, has quietly lead BYU to a 7-2 showing thus far this season.  BYU has a very small recruiting pool from which to pull players.  Selling them not only on the football program but also the lifestyle at BYU.  I love this guy simply because he’s 5-0 on the road, which is a testament to the player’s preparation and determination, but also his ability as a head coach to focus his players in amidst all the distractions that come with playing an away game.  So, yeah I’d like to meet Bronco Mendenhall at TGI Fridays for a few Apple-tinis.

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Tim Tebow.  Marry.  Then Divorce.
Maybe I’m one of the adoring millions who worship Tim Tebow on a daily basis.  But much like Tyler Lorenzen at UConn, it’s not necessarily his play making ability which makes him a success, but rather his ability to know how to win.  Finding a way to win is an incredible ability.  You know that characteristics I look for in my future spouse will be solid work ethic, consistency, humbleness, and a nice rear end.  Well, check, check, check, and double check.  So yeah, I’d marry the heck out of Tim Tebow right now, followed by a speedy divorce.  No way I’m going to the Philippines.
Tim Tebow Messiah Watch [DEADSPIN]

Randy Edsall Playing Basketball

// August 28th, 2009 // 14 Comments » // Uncategorized


Head Coach Randy Edsall playing one on one against long snapper Glen Kolbrenner at Holiday Hill in Mansfield, CT.

Look at that cross over, the domination in the low post , Edsall’s jumper needs a little bit of work–but his rebounding is outstanding.

A while back I told you that Edsall was by far the fastest coach in the Big East—after that video of USF Coach Jim Leavitt running a 40 yard dash went viral.  Well I hope this video serves as proof to any of the doubters out there, in the world of head coach athleticism–Edsall reigns supreme.

Pictures Now Available

// June 10th, 2009 // 2 Comments » // Uncategorized


Finally– Pictures of UConn’s new uniforms have arrived. Take a look…


Not only do they make the UConn captains look sleek (and svelte), they also come in four different combinations! How fashion savvy. They look great… On and off the field.