As Randy Edsall embarks on his 10th season as the head
coach at the University of Connecticut, he continues to see the positive effects
of his first nine years in Storrs as the program has blossomed from a major
college football newcomer to the champion of a Bowl Championship Series
Only one other school besides UConn has moved up
from Division I-AA to Division I-A (Football Bowl Subdivision) and earned
an AP ranking faster. Only five times has a team ascended from Division I-AA to
Division I-A and produced a .500 or better season in each of its first three
years at the highest level of collegiate football and UConn is one of those
The Huskies continue to climb in a BCS Conference and much
of the credit for this remarkable ascension is due to Edsall, who is the third
winningest coach in school history and stands at an impressive 41-31 (.569) in
the school’s first six Division I-A seasons.
In 2007, the Bryant and Munger Coach of the Year Award
finalist helped guide UConn to a share of its first-ever BIG EAST Championship
in a season where the Huskies were picked to finish seventh in the league. The
Huskies went on to play in their second bowl game in four years.
Edsall was named the 2007 Bowl Championship Division Head
Coach of the Year in New England by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston.
Edsall has also become a prominent voice in the college
football community, recently being named to the AFCA Board of Trustees and the
NCAA Football Rules Committee.
the 2007 season, he signed a five-year contract with the school that runs
through the 2012 season.
UConn joined the BIG EAST Conference in 2004, finishing
just one win shy of tying for the conference championship. The Huskies led the
conference in total defense each of their first two years in the league, and,
during their debut season in 2004, led the BIG EAST in both total offense and
During this span, UConn has finished in the national top 20
for total offense (2003, 2004) and total defense (2002, 2005). Under Edsall’s
guidance, the Huskies have defeated members of the Atlantic Coast Conference,
BIG EAST, Big Ten, Big 12 and Conference USA during their brief Division I-A
In addition to the great success on the field, UConn has
performed admirably in the classroom under Edsall. In three of the past five
years, including 2007, UConn was recognized by the American Football Coaches
Association for its high graduation rate. In 2003, UConn was the only public I-A
school to graduate at least 90 percent of its football players and in 2005,
UConn was one of only eight schools to both graduate 70 percent and win a bowl
In 2007, the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) for the
UConn football team was an impressive 963, which placed it higher than the
national Bowl Subdivision average of 934 and among the top 20 percent of all
football programs in the country. That same year, UConn was one of just six
schools to play in a bowl game and also boast a Graduation Success Rate (GSR)
over 80-percent for both its Caucasian and African-American student-athletes.
Edsall guided the 2002 team to a 6-6 record in its first
year with a full Division I-A compliment of 85 scholarships. UConn ended the
2002 season impressively with four-straight wins to reach the .500 mark,
including season-ending road wins at Navy and at bowl-bound Iowa State of the
Big 12 Conference.
“This was the day that the man on the street connected with
UConn football,” proclaimed a Connecticut sportswriter after the win. “It’s his
team, and by gawd, he’s going to cheer for it.”
UConn’s .500 season was its best record since the squad won
10 games in 1998. The Huskies’ six wins were more than the Huskies posted in
2000 (three) and 2001 (two) combined. The Huskies were the most improved
Division I-A team in the country in 2002, according to preseason and postseason
ratings by College Football News.
The excitement for Edsall and his team continued to swell
in 2003 as the Huskies moved into their new home, Rentschler Field, and enjoyed
the nation’s largest attendance increase with a gain of 21,252 fans per game.
Finishing with a 9-3 record, many national media outlets,
including Bristol-based ESPN, proclaimed that UConn should have received a bowl
berth, a feat highly-uncommon for an independent team.
With their membership in the BIG EAST for the 2004 season,
another strong campaign by the Huskies resulted in a bowl berth. UConn went 8-4
against a challenging slate that fall as the program gained its highest ever
level of exposure. UConn defeated eventual BCS participant Pittsburgh, 29-17,
before a rowdy sell out crowd at Rentschler Field. The Huskies capped their
historic season with a resounding 39-10 win over Mid-American Champion Toledo in
the Motor City Bowl.
The 2007 season witnessed a new level of excitement in
Storrs as the Huskies earned their first ever national rankings, peaking at No.
13 in the BCS standings on Nov. 5. Only Marshall has ever cracked the national
polls faster after moving up from I-AA. UConn became just the second BIG EAST
team to ever go 7-0 at home and defeated three teams there which were ranked in
the Top 10 at some point during the season.
The BIG EAST Champion Huskies finished that season at 9-4
with a berth in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, earning Edsall New England Division I
Coach of the Year accolades.
When UConn announced its plans to join the Division I-A
ranks, these were the moments that were dreamt of, but they came sooner than
almost anyone besides Edsall may have anticipated.
“I pride myself on taking advantage of opportunities and
attacking challenges head on,” says Edsall. “I see this as a great opportunity.
An opportunity to take a program to the Division I-A level and being able to put
my stamp on it, along with Jeff Hathaway and everyone else here, and building it
into something that the entire University and the state of Connecticut can be
Edsall has done just that after being named the 27th head
football coach at the University of Connecticut on December 21, 1998.
“Randy Edsall has done a tremendous job of transforming our
football program over the past nine years,” says UConn Director of Athletics
Jeffrey Hathaway. “He has proven to be the perfect fit for our school and our
team. He has drawn well upon both his NFL and collegiate experiences to rapidly
develop this program and prepare it for BIG EAST competition.”
Edsall brought 19 years of previous coaching experience to
the Husky program, including 15 seasons at the Division I-A collegiate level and
three seasons in the National Football League.
Edsall joined the Huskies after completing the 1998 season
as the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, where he helped the 14th-ranked
Yellow Jackets complete a 9-2 campaign and earn a New Year’s Day win in the
Gator Bowl over Notre Dame. Georgia Tech finished 7-1 in the ACC and earned a
share of the league championship with Florida State.
Prior to joining the staff at Georgia Tech, Edsall spent
three seasons as the secondary coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the
National Football League. In his three seasons on Tom Coughlin’s staff, Edsall
was a part of one of the most successful expansion franchises in the history of
the NFL. The Jaguars reached the playoffs in 1996 and 1997, including a berth in
the AFC Championship Game in 1996. During that 1996 playoff run, Edsall’s
secondary allowed an average of only 217 yards passing to three of the top
quarterbacks in the NFL, New England’s Drew Bledsoe and NFL Hall of Famers Jim
Kelly of Buffalo and John Elway of Denver.
Edsall began his coaching career in 1980 at his alma mater,
Syracuse University. A former quarterback for the Orangemen, Edsall started as a
graduate assistant from 1980-1982. In 1983, coach Dick MacPherson named Edsall
running backs coach. He coached the running backs for three seasons at Syracuse
(1983-84 and 1986) and coached the tight ends in 1985 before making the switch
to the defensive side of the ball. He coached the Syracuse defensive backs from
1987-1990 and during that period the Orangemen were ranked amongst the National
Division I-A leaders in pass defense.
1991, Edsall moved on to Boston College and joined the staff of Coughlin. He
coached the Eagle defensive backs for three seasons (1991-1993) and had his
secondary ranked among the national top 20 in pass defense in two of those three
seasons. He moved with Coughlin to the NFL in 1994.
Success has followed Edsall at every stop along his playing
and coaching journey. He has been a part of 10 different teams (nine as a coach)
that made bowl appearances and came away with a victory seven times.
The Jacksonville Jaguars advanced to the NFL Playoffs in
two of his three seasons, including an AFC Championship Game appearance in 1996.
From 1985 to 1993, Edsall was a part of seven teams that made bowl appearances
and in 1993, Boston College upset three top 10 teams on the road in Notre Dame,
Penn State and Syracuse.
Edsall was a three-year letterwinner in football,
basketball and baseball at Susquehannock High School in Glen Rock, Pa. He was an
all-state selection in all three sports in his senior season and has been
inducted into the York Area Sports Hall of Fame. He then went on to Syracuse,
where he was a member of the football team and earned one varsity letter as a
quarterback for the Orangemen. He was a member of the Syracuse squad that
captured the 1979 Independence Bowl title under head coach Frank Maloney.
Edsall is a native of Glen Rock, Penn., and earned a
bachelor’s degree in physical education from Syracuse in 1980 and added a
master’s degree in health and physical education in 1982 from Syracuse.
Edsall also is the honorary chairman of the Southern New
England Arthritis Foundation Gridiron Gala. He is on the advisory council of
The Children’s Home in Cromwell, Conn., a center for over 100 neglected and
abused children. Edsall also partakes in several other charitable endeavors
including serving in the past as the honorary chairman of the Greater Hartford
American Heart Association Walk. He is a member of the York (Pa.) Area Sports
Hall of Fame.
He and his wife, Eileen, a former basketball and volleyball
letterwinner at Syracuse, have a daughter, Alexi (18), who is a freshman at
UConn, and a son, Corey (15).
A CLOSER LOOK AT RANDY EDSALL
FULL NAME: Randy Douglas Edsall
CHILDREN: Alexi (born 1/31/90), Corey (born 8/13/92)
ALMA MATER: Syracuse, 1980
BIRTHDATE: August 27, 1958
HOMETOWN: Glen Rock, Pa.
YEARS IN COACHING (COLLEGE): 27 (23)
||Graduate Assistant ('80-'82)
||Running Backs ('83-'84, '86)
||Tight Ends ('85)
||Defensive Backs ('87-'90)
||Recruiting Coordinator ('89-'90)
||Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
BOWL GAMES AS A COACH/PLAYER (7-3-1 RECORD)
||W, 31-7 vs. McNeese State
||L, 18-35 vs. Maryland
||T, 16-16 vs. Auburn
||Hall of Fame Bowl
||W, 23-10 vs. LSU
||W, 19-18 vs. Georgia
||W, 28-0 vs. Arizona
||Hall of Fame Bowl
||Boston College, Assistant
||L, 23-28 vs. Tennessee
||Boston College, Assistant
||W, 31-13 vs. Virginia
||Georgia Tech, Assistant
||W, 35-28 vs. Notre Dame
||Motor City Bowl
||Connecticut, Head Coach
||W, 39-10 vs. Toledo
||Meineke Car Care Bowl
||Connecticut, Head Coach
||L, 10-24 vs. Wake Forest
LONGEST TENURED FBS COACHES AT CURRENT SCHOOL (2008