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Meet Head Coach Randy Edsall

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 conference.

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 programs.

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.

Following 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 total defense.

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 tenure.

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 game.

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 proud of.”

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.

In 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
WIFE:
Eileen
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)

 

COACHING RESUME     

Year School/Team Position
1980-'90 Syracuse Graduate Assistant ('80-'82)
    Running Backs ('83-'84, '86)
    Tight Ends ('85)
    Defensive Backs ('87-'90)
    Recruiting Coordinator ('89-'90)
1991-'93 Boston College Defensive Backs
1994-'97 Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive Backs
1998 Georgia Tech Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
1999-present Connecticut Head Coach

 

BOWL GAMES AS A COACH/PLAYER (7-3-1 RECORD)

Year Game School, Position Result, Opponent
1979 Independence Bowl Syracuse, Player W, 31-7 vs. McNeese State
1985 Cherry Bowl Syracuse, Assistant L, 18-35 vs. Maryland
1988 Sugar Bowl Syracuse, Assistant T, 16-16 vs. Auburn
1989 Hall of Fame Bowl Syracuse, Assistant W, 23-10 vs. LSU
1989 Peach Bowl Syracuse, Assistant W, 19-18 vs. Georgia
1990 Aloha Bowl Syracuse, Assistant W, 28-0 vs. Arizona
1993 Hall of Fame Bowl Boston College, Assistant L, 23-28 vs. Tennessee
1994 Carquest Bowl Boston College, Assistant W, 31-13 vs. Virginia
1999 Gator Bowl Georgia Tech, Assistant W, 35-28 vs. Notre Dame
2004 Motor City Bowl Connecticut, Head Coach W, 39-10 vs. Toledo
2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl Connecticut, Head Coach L, 10-24 vs. Wake Forest

 

LONGEST TENURED FBS COACHES AT CURRENT SCHOOL (2008 SEASON)

Coach School Years
Joe Paterno Penn State 43
Bobby Bowden Florida State 32
Chris Ault Nevada 24
Frank Beamer Virginia Tech 22
Larry Blackeney Troy 18
Phil Fulmer Tennessee 17
Mike Bellotti Oregon 14
Pat Hill Fresno State 12
Jim Leavitt South Florida 12
Joe Tiller Purdue 12
Mack Brown Texas 11
Rocky Long New Mexico 11
RANDY EDSALL CONNECTICUT 10
Tommy Bowden Clemson 10
Kirk Ferentz Iowa 10
Bob Stoops Oklahoma 10
Tommy Tuberville Auburn 10

 

 

 


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