Diaco, Huskies optimistic as 2016 campaign starts againt Black Bears.
Knappe, Mikal Myers, Shirreffs and Walsh will lead the Huskies in 2016.
As UConn prepares for its season, Huskies are all around the pros.
UConn will open the season on Thursday, Sept. 1 vs. Maine at Pratt & Whitney Stadium.
As 2016 season is near, there was one more honor from the 2015-16 academic year.
Marshall 16, UConn 10 St. Petersburg Bowl December 26, 2015
The Huskies fall to Marshall in the St. Petersburg Bowl.
The Huskies fall on the road against Temple, on November 28, 2015.
UConn vs Houston (photo by Stephen Slade)
UConn knocks off unbeaten Houston
UConn head coach Bob Diaco is in his third season in charge of the Husky program in 2016. Since being named the 30th head football coach at UConn on December 12, 2013, Diaco has touched every facet of the program and has built a strong foundation for a championship future at UConn -- starting with last season's appearance in the St. Petersburg Bowl.
Diaco coached the Huskies to wins in three of their last four regular season games of the 2015 season, including a win over Houston, which was ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press Poll at the time of the game. Diaco is the first head coach in UConn history to take the Huskies to post-season play just two years into their tenure.
Under Diaco's watch in 2015, UConn finished the season ranked 33rd in the country in total defense, which led the American Athletic Conference. The Huskies were also 15th nationally in scoring defense (19.5 ppg), which led the American, and was seventh nationally and first in the conference in red zone defense.
The 2015 St. Petersburg Bowl was the ninth post-season game he coached in, including the BCS title game with Notre Dame in 2012 and the Sugar Bowl with Cincinnati in 2010. He played in three bowl games as a student-athlete at Iowa.
He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection at Iowa as a linebacker under Hall of Fame coach Hayden Fry and was named the team's co-MVP in 1995, starting in all 23 games over his junior and senior seasons.
Diaco has become completely immersed in "UConn Nation" as he has spread the word about Husky football and the entire school around the state and country since his arrival. This past summer, Diaco had a "Road Tour" which made stops in New York City, Boston, Hartford and New York.
Diaco and his wife Julia announced a $250,000 gift to the University in June 2016 to help build new facilities for the Husky men's and women's soccer, baseball and softball teams.
"Our UConn football family is very fortunate to call The Burton Family Football Complex and Mark R. Shenkman Training Center our home," said Diaco of the gift. "These facilities are among the finest in the nation and fully serve the needs of our football student-athletes. I want all Husky student-athletes and my fellow coaches to be able to enjoy the same caliber of facilities, which they richly deserve."
Diaco served on the Notre Dame coaching staff as the defensive coordinator from 2010-13 and the assistant head coach in 2012-13. He was the 2012 winner of the Frank Broyles Award, given to the top assistant college football coach in the country and was a semifinalist for the award in 2011. Diaco joined the Notre Dame staff in 2010 as defensive coordinator and inside linebacker coach, took responsibility for the entire linebacker position in 2011 and added responsibilities as associate head coach in 2012.
His 2012 Irish defense ranked among the top 10 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 12 different categories as the school played in the BCS National Championship Game and posted an overall record of 12-1. Diaco developed a national reputation as one of the top defensive coaches in the game. Notre Dame allowed an average of 19.08 points/game from 2010-13, which ranked as the ninth-best average over that time of any team in the FBS.
Diaco also served at Virginia (2006-08) as the linebackers and special teams coordinator and Cincinnati (2009) as the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach before joining the Notre Dame staff.
A native of Cedar Grove, N.J., Diaco began his coaching career in 1996-97 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater. He then served on the staffs of Western Illinois (1999-2000) as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach, Eastern Michigan (2001-2003) working with the same positions and Central Michigan (2005) as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
His 2012 Irish defense ranked second in the FBS in scoring defense - allowing just 12.77 points per game. Notre Dame only allowed 15 offensive touchdowns - four fewer than any other FBS school. The Irish held six opponents without an offensive touchdown and nine foes to one or fewer offensive touchdowns.
Diaco's 2011 defense ranked in the top 50 in scoring defense (24th, 20.7), total defense (30th, 344.7), rushing defense (47th, 138.9) and passing defense (38th, 205.8). It was only the second time since 2003 and fourth time in the last 15 seasons a Notre Dame defense ranked in the top 50 in all four categories. The Irish played in the Champs Sports Bowl following that season.
In his first season at Notre Dame in 2010, Diaco switched defensive schemes from a blitzing 4-3 defense the Irish utilized in 2009 and installed a 3-4 no-crease defense. Diaco's defense became immediately better as the Irish allowed 5.69 fewer points per game, 40.5 fewer yards per game, averaged one half sacks more per game and forced more turnovers in 2010 than 2009. The Irish played in the Sun Bowl that season.
In his only season at Cincinnati (2009), he was charged with replacing 10 starters on the Bearcats' defense, including every player on the front seven for 2009. The Bearcats recorded 110 tackles for loss in 2009 (8.46 per game) to rank third in the nation. They totaled 37 sacks and tied for 10th in the country averaging 2.85 sacks per contest. Cincinnati's defense allowed 3.6 rushing yards per carry.
Prior to Cincinnati, Diaco spent three years as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator on Al Groh's coaching staff at the University of Virginia from 2006-08. At the conclusion of the 2008 season, he was promoted to the Cavaliers' defensive coordinator position, but he left two months later to take the same position at Cincinnati. Virginia played in the Gator Bowl following `07.
In his only season at Central Michigan (2005), Diaco turned around CMU's rushing defense that just two years earlier had ranked last in the Mid-American Conference. Under Diaco's watch, Central Michigan led the MAC, allowing only 113.7 rushing yards per game.
He coached the special teams and linebackers at Western Michigan in 2004. The punting, punt return and kickoff return units all finished in the top three of the MAC.
Diaco's first full-time position was at Western Illinois where he was the running backs coach and special teams coordinator in 1999 and 2000. The Leathernecks won the Gateway Conference crown in 2000 and made an appearance in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.
Diaco and his wife Julia have two sons -- Angelo and Michael - and a daughter Josephine.
Year-By-Year With Bob Diaco
|1996||Iowa||Graduate Assistant||Alamo Bowl|
|1997||Iowa||Graduate Assistant||Alamo Bowl|
|1999||Western Illinois||Running Backs/Special Teams|
|2000||Western Illinois||Running Backs/Special Teams||NCAA I-AA First Round|
|2001||Eastern Michigan||Running Backs/Special Teams|
|2002||Eastern Michigan||Linebackers/Special Teams|
|2003||Eastern Michigan||Outside Linebackers/Special Teams|
|2004||Western Michigan||Linebackers/Special Teams|
|2005||Central Michigan||Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers|
|2007||Virginia||Linebackers/Special Teams||Gator Bowl|
|2009||Cincinnati||Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers||Sugar Bowl|
|2010||Notre Dame||Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers||Sun Bowl|
|2011||Notre Dame||Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers||Champs Sports Bowl|
|2012||Notre Dame||Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/LBs||BCS National Championship|
|2013||Notre Dame||Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/LBs||Pinstripe Bowl|
|2014||UConn||Head Coach||St. Petersburg Bowl|