On Tuesday morning, UConn announced that Thomas C. Katsouleas will be succeeding Susan Herbst as president of the university. He comes to Storrs from the University of Virginia, where he has been executive vice president and provost since 2015.
This new job of course includes oversight of the UConn athletic department, which has been led by David Benedict since 2016. Katsouleas recently offered some thoughts on the direction of the football program to Patrick Eaton-Robb of the Associated Press.
#UConn's incoming prez Katsouleas: "Yes, I’m committed to football. I think it’s part of the identity of who we are as a major, broad-context university and I don’t think savings from cutting it are as great as people think.”— Patrick Eaton-Robb (@peatonrobb) February 5, 2019
Okay, fair enough. UConn has made major investments in this area and maybe should let this play out for a few more years before making any rash decisions. I can see the thinking behind that...
#UConn's new president says he's committed to keeping UConn as a major college football program and growing the American Athletic Conference.— Patrick Eaton-Robb (@peatonrobb) February 5, 2019
Hmm. Tougher one to defend. We’ll see.
At any rate, UConn experienced an impressive rise in its academic reputation under Herbst and looks to solidify its status as the premier public university in New England and the tri-state area. That will be Katsouleas’ primary objective, but the future of Husky athletics is also in his hands, and somewhat tied to that overall mission. He can choose to go a different direction with football, if he changes his mind from the above, or shake up the department’s leadership.
With UConn athletics at or approaching a serious crossroads, this is certainly an interesting time to have new leadership up top. The department can’t run at a $40 million deficit for much longer, so something will have to give at some point.