We've all known this for the last six hours or so, but now it's official: Randy Edsall has accepted an offer to be Maryland's next football coach. You can find Maryland's press release announcing the decision after the jump.
This, to be frank, comes as a huge surprise and I still don't really understand the move. It's not just a surprise to me though, as it looks like most of UConn was caught off guard.
A few weeks ago I wrote that if Edsall wanted to go, now was the time. A lot of people interpreted that as me saying I wanted him to leave, which wasn't really what I was trying to get at. What I was trying to say was that if the right job was out there and Edsall didn't want to coach UConn for the next 20 years, he should leave now. I understand why he'd want to leave and I wish him no ill will (for the most part, we'll get to that in a second). His stock could only go down from here, and if UConn is looking to get anything close to a name coach, now's probably the best chance they'll ever get (well, almost, bear with me) So he's gone, and I'm fine with that.
I'm not fine with everything though.
I'm pretty upset about both the timing and the manner of Edsall's departure. If, as it is being reported, Edsall gave almost no indication to anyone at UConn, ditched the team after the bowl to fly to Maryland and let his players learn about this from twitter and ESPN, that's a terrible move that feels completely out of character. I have a great deal of respect for everything Edsall did for UConn, and I want to wish him well going forward, but the ending leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Now, the timing: When I wrote three weeks ago that UConn would never have a better time to replace a coach, that was true. And while the athletic department is still in a relatively strong position, it's certainly weaker than it was in early December. All the press about the financial bath the school took on the bowl game will damage our ability to open the checkbook for a coach, and the 28-point loss on National TV makes the BCS big look (just slightly) less impressive. We've also lost a month of recruiting time and perhaps worst of all, if athletic director Jeff Hathaway didn't know this coming it means that he probably isn't as prepared as he needs to be to find a replacement ASAP. I was already worried enough about Hathaway's ability to perform the biggest task of his career, having him be surprised only hurts.
There's obviously a ton to unpack here, and we'll cover it more in the coming days, but one thing is for sure: for better or for worse, UConn football is never going to be the same.
Full press release from Maryland below:
EDSALL NAMED HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
Former UConn head coach led Huskies to five bowl appearances, including 2011 Fiesta Bowl
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Randy Edsall, who spent the last 12 years taking the University of Connecticut from Division I-AA status (now FCS) to five bowl games, including a BCS contest, has been named Marylandâ€TMs head football coach, director of athletics Kevin Anderson announced Sunday evening.
Edsall, who will be introduced Monday during a news conference, guided the Huskies to a pair of BIG EAST Conference titles (2007, 2010) and postseason appearances in each of the last four seasons, including the 2011 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
The 2010 BIG EAST Coach of the Year has led the Huskies to eight or more wins in each of the last four seasons as the Huskies successfully made the ascent from Division I-AA.
Prior to his stint in Storrs, Conn., Edsall, a native of Glen Rock, Pa., spent one season (1998) as the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech and four years (1994-97) as a defensive backs coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars who went from expansion team to the AFC Championship game during his tenure.
Maryland Athletics will comment on the hiring during Monday's news conference.