As Randy Edsall enters his 12th season as the head coach at the University of Connecticut in 2010, he continues to see the positive effects of his time in Storrs. The program has blossomed from a major college football newcomer upon his arrival to a team that has now made four bowl appearances in the past six years. 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 tied as the winningest coach in school history and stands at an impressive 57-41 (.582) in the school's first seven Division I-A seasons.
UConn's trip to the 2010 Papajohns.com Bowl marked the fourth the Huskies have made under Edsall in the past six years. Edsall guided the Huskies to a 38-20 win over Buffalo in the 2009 International Bowl and led the team to a victory in the 2004 Motor City Bowl and an appearance in the 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Edsall's Huskies won their final three regular season games in 2009 - including a historic double-overtime win over Notre Dame on Nov. 21. UConn posted a 7-5 regular season record facing the 25th-toughest regular season schedule in the country. 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.
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, as he is a member of the American Football Coaches Association 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 again in 2008. 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, 2008). The Huskies finished an impressive sixth in the country in total defense in 2008.
Under Edsall's guidance, the Huskies have defeated members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, BIG EAST, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA and Southeastern Conference during their Football Bowl Subdivision tenure.
In addition to the great success on the field, UConn has performed admirably in the classroom under Edsall. In five of the past seven years, including 2007, `08 and `09, UConn was recognized by the American Football Coaches Association for its high graduation rate.
In the latest release of the NCAA Graduation Success Rate (released in October of 2009), UConn had the highest mark of any BIG EAST team. In 2008, UConn had the highest GSR for African-American student-athletes among all state universities that participated in a bowl game following the 2008 season.
In 2009, the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR) for the UConn football team was an impressive 951, which was third in the BIG EAST Conference and just five points behind the second-highest team. That mark also placed Connecticut ahead of the Bowl Subdivision average of 941 and among the top thirty percent of schools in the country.
In 2007, 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.
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.
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," wrote the late Randy Smith of the Manchester (Conn.) Journal-Inquirer. "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. 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. 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.
Edsall was named the 27th head football coach at the University of Connecticut on December 21, 1998.
Edsall brought 19 years of previous coaching experience to the Husky program, including 15 seasons on the collegiate level and three in the NFL. 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.
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.
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.
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 was honored with the Leadership Award at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday National Liberty Bell Ringing Celebration in Hartford, Conn., in January of 2010.
Edsall is an active member of the Connecticut community and supports a number of charitable events. He is the former chairman of the annual 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, and also partakes in several other charitable endeavors including serving in the past as the honorary chairman of the Greater Hartford American Heart Association Walk. In June of 2010, he will be the honorary chairman for the second year in a row of the Circle of Mercy Golf Outing benefitting Mercy Community Health's - a not-for-profit healthcare system that serves more than 700 people throughout greater Hartford.
He and his wife, Eileen, a former basketball and volleyball letterwinner at Syracuse, have a daughter, Alexi (19), who is a sophomore at UConn, and a son, Corey (17), who attends East Catholic High School in Manchester, Conn., and plays on the football and baseball teams.