2012 was a decidedly terrible year for UConn fans. Across the board nothing seemed to go right, and if it weren't for Kevin Ollie's 5-year extension at the very end of the year, there was no ostensible reason for us to believe things would get any better.
After this year, through great highs and some lows, I remain cautiously optimistic about the athletic programs future because given the circumstances I think the school has fared quite well. As we rip off the last page of our calendars and start anew in 2014, lets take a look back at the events of 2013:
January 3- Football fans experience eu-CONN-phoria as news breaks that George DeLeone is leaving UConn… only to find out that the reports were false. Eventually we find out that he will remain on the team as Associate Head Coach and Offensive Line coach.
January 7- Men’s Hockey head coach Bruce Marshall announces his retirement after 25 years.
January 14- Kevin Ollie scores his first recruit as Amida Brimah commits to UConn.
January 22- TJ Weist is hired as Offensive Coordinator.
February 6- Football signs 24 players to letters of intent on National Signing Day.
February 11- Center Enosch Wolf is arrested and suspended by the team indefinitely.
February 13- UConn beats a highly favored Syracuse team 66-58 in the last game these two schools will play as conference rivals.
February 28- Reports surface that the "Catholic 7" has opted to secede from the Big East, but actually they will also be taking the Big East name and MSG Tournament with them... balls. On the plus side, UConn nets about $30m from the move.
March 4- Football avoids a 2014 scheduling disaster by signing a home and home with BYU. The first game will be the season opener at the Rent next year.
March 9- Men's Basketball beats Providence to end the season on a high note, and leave plenty of optimism for next year and the rest of the Kevin Ollie era.
March 22- Tyler Olander arrested while on Spring Break, makes rap song too.
April 3- Our zombie cross country conference finally has a name. On this day, the American Athletic Conference was born.
April 4- The University of Connecticut athletic teams, previously represented by a diverse array of logos, unite under one logo and branding for the school and it's teams.
Apriil 5- Rodney Purvis, a 5-star McDonalds All-American from the class of 2011, transfers from NC State to UConn. He will sit out the 2013'-'14 season and play the following year.
April 7- After losing to Notre Dame twice in the regular season and once in the Big East Tournament, the Women's Basketball team vanquishes their demons to DESTROY the "fighting" Irish in the Final Four, 83-65.
April 9- Two days later, they seal the deal against Louisville for the schools eighth Women's Basketball Championship.
April 11- New Husky logo revealed along with new uniforms for all of the sports teams. I might be the only person in the world who likes the new football helmets.
May 8- Warde Manual names BC assistant coach Mike Cavanaugh to vacant Hockey head coaching position. Cavanaugh delivers rousing, enthusiastic opening remarks and the crowd absolutely eats it up, probably.
May 11- UConn scores another stud basketball commitment: LA's Danny Hamilton.
May 21- Lasan Kromah announces his transfer from GW to UConn as a graduate student. He will play immediately. I incorrectly called him the second coming of RJ Evans, but was quick to correct that mistake during our season preview.
May 27- The Aman Kidwai era gets off to a great start as UConn's Baseball team makes an improbable run to win the Big East Tournament.
June 11- confirming reports that were out for weeks, The Ameri-Con finally announced that their Men's Basketball tournament would be held in Memphis, TN.
June 14- George Blaney retires. My sources tell me he has since accepted a job as Jim Calhoun's gardener.
July 12- After losing his scholarship, Enosch Wolf elects to play professionally in Germany rather than pay nearly 50k to walk-on at UConn. At least he was attending Economics class. #APR
August 29- Football opens the season with a loss to "FCS Powerhouse" Towson. The season is basically over before it could start.
Sept. 9- Tyler Olander suspended indefinitely for a DUI on campus.
Sept. 14- Randy Edsall comes back to his old stomping grounds to beat a hapless UConn team and split the series with his former employer.
Sept. 21- In the biggest home game in the football programs history, UConn manages to scare the bejeezus out of Michigan, but falls just short losing 24-21. I heard Desmond Conner thinks we should have punted on that final 4th down because we lost.
Sept. 30- After a loss to Buffalo puts UConn at 0-4, Paul Pasqualoni is fired. A move that fans have been calling for since the day he was hired.
Oct. 1- With hoops season on the horizon, we received a verbal commitment from 2014 PF Rakim Lubin.
Oct. 2- Freshman Tim Boyle is named the starting Quarterback over incumbent Chandler Whitmer and his back-up, Redshirt Freshman Casey Cochran. Ah yes, the old depth chart double jump, always a guarantee of success.
Oct. 9- Sam Cassell Jr. commits to UConn for the Class of 2014. His father was teammates with Kevin Ollie in the NBA. Our 'swag' rating shoots through the roof. (not) True story: there's a secret fifth factor in the KenPom ratings, and it's actually swag.
Oct. 25- NCAA declares Freshman Forward Kentan Facey eligible for the 2013-'14 season. Kevin Ollie chooses to ignore this news
November 8- UConn survives a late run to beat Maryland at the Barclays Center in the Men's Basketball season opener.
November 12- Casey Cochran named starting quarterback for the SMU game. Those of us (not me) who believed that maybe we should have redshirted Tim Boyle instead of throwing him into the fire vigorously shake their heads.
November 17- Men's Soccer loses to USF in the AAC Tournament Finals in a penalty shootout.
November 22- Shabazz Napier officially enters the national conversation for the Naismith Award by leading UConn to a 59-58 win over Indiana for the 2k Classic Championship. Jamie Dixon, seen watching in the stands, sheds a single tear while stroking his CBI Championship ring as he ponders which title is more relevant.
November 23- The Football team finally got their first win of the season, coming back from a 21-0 deficit to beat Temple. Junior linebacker Yawin Smallwood scored the winning touchdown on a pick-six. People thought UConn might have been bad, nobody predicted we'd be celebrating our first win during the same week we prepare for Thanksgiving Dinner.
November 24- It was a banner weekend for UConn Athletics, as the Field Hockey team captured its third national championship, besting Duke 2-0. Later that night, Men's Soccer beat UMBC in a penalty shootout. GO HUSKIES!!
November 25- momentum from the excellent weekend continues into the week as Kevin Ollie scores his first commitment for the class of 2015: athletic scoring guard Prince Ali. Yes, that's his real name. It looks like he'll be pretty good too.
December 1- Men's Soccer continues their magnificent run with a huge upset over the #1 team in the country, the UCLA Bruins, at their home field in LA. Our own Jonathan Restivo was there to catch the action.
December 6- Men's Soccer's magical run ends with a loss at UVA in the Quarterfinals, it is UConn's third straight Elite Eight appearance.
December 11- that coaching search is quite short as a few days later Notre Dame's Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco is named UConn's next Football coach. We then collected a lot of information about him for you. In what is becoming a UConn head coaching tradition, he absolutely knocked the introductory press conference out of the water.
December 31- UConn basketball opens up the American Conference slate with a game at Houston. Sigh.
We also hear a little bit about Bob Diaco starting to fill out his coaching staff.
So that was our year folks! If i missed anything let me know, but all things considered I think it was a pretty good one. 2013 saw UConn add 2 National Championships and, I believe, 3 Conference championships to the trophy case. Many of our teams are in good position to add to those totals in 2014.
In 2013 Warde Manuel and Susan Herbst were working with a sour batch of lemons and gosh darn it if they didn't put their heads down and make lemonade. For that I commend them. There are individual moves we can criticize and second guess (e.g. Bridgeport, not firing PP before the season), but I truly believe that UConn is closer to a power conference invite than it was one year ago. One year from now, let's hope we can say the same thing.
On a more personal note, I would like to thank you the readers for your continued fellowship during the transition earlier this year. This community is driven by the readers and their comments and my goal is to provide the news, some context and opinions for us to begin a discussion. Not to single anyone out, but derbyguy, you are the man. We can always count on you to get the discussion started and bring some new insight into the conversation. One of my biggest New Years Resolutions for the blog is to personally be more active on the comments front, I hope you all will join me. I will also begin to actively seek out feedback from our dedicated readership for how to make The UConn Blog the best it can be. Please do not hesitate to reach out on your own, unsolicited, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would also like to express my gratitude to Andrew Callahan and Mac Cerullo, my co-editors, for being such extraordinary partners throughout all of this. The UConn Blog would be a small fraction of what it is without your dedication and excellence. The same goes for our contributors John Rook, Rich MacLeod, Jonathan Restivo, and justdave for helping out the cause. Also, to my good friend and occasional contributor Sam Marshall, thank you for running the Twitter account and for penning one of our most popular articles of the year. Every single one of you does your part, and with all of us having day jobs I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished so far and look forward to kicking ass in 2014.
Lastly, to my predecessor Andrew Porter: Thank you. This has been a marvelous experience thus far and your guidance and support throughout the year has been invaluable. Yours were big shoes to fill, I promise I will do my best. You won't have to worry about me taking any escalators either.
HAPPY NEW YEAR HUSKY FANS!!