After initially announcing that he would retire at the end of the season on Sunday, Randy Edsall has stepped down as head football coach effective immediately. Defensive coordinator Lou Spanos will take over as head coach. Spanos joined the staff as defensive coordinator before the 2019 season.
UConn football will be looking for a new head coach after this season. The school announced that Randy Edsall made the decision to retire after five years and four seasons back at the helm of the Huskies’ football program.
After taking over as head coach following the firing of Bob Diaco, Edsall and his teams have gone 3-9, 1-11, and 2-10 from 2017-2019 before taking the 2020 season off due to COVID-19. The program also moved from the AAC to FBS independence during his tenure.
The 2021 season has not gotten off to a good start, even against the modest expectations surrounding the program. The Huskies returned to action after the season off with a 45-0 loss to Fresno State and an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Holy Cross this past Saturday.
UConn said it will begin a national search for a replacement immediately. The program will be making its fourth head coaching hire in 11 years. Paul Pasqualoni, Bob Diaco, and Edsall 2.0 couldn’t cut it. Athletic director David Benedict will be tasked with finding someone who wants the job in addition to having the ability to succeed in it.
The one thing all three of the post-Edsall 1.0 successors had in common was their insistence on an outdated philosophy for success on the field. They all wanted to “establish the run” and play “tough, fundamental football” even though it is abundantly clear that UConn as a member of the AAC or FBS independent in the 21st century needed a slightly more sophisticated approach.
In my opinion, it would be great to look for someone who is well-versed in modern offensive schemes and willing to make the most of the built-in talent disadvantage that is natural to college football by trying something new. Whether it’s the triple option, the up-tempo spread, or something in between, this UConn program desperately needs an identity.
I do believe with the right leadership this program can be decent. Edsall’s successor will be inheriting a decently talented, young roster and a future schedule that should be enticing to players, recruits, and fans.
We’ve also seen similarly situated schools like Temple and Buffalo get good quickly as mid-majors that are more-or-less in the same region. The right coach can change everything, but UConn hasn’t been able to find that person lately. This is a big decision for Benedict, who is going to need to nail this one unless he wants to field more questions about moving the program to a lower level or shutting it down altogether.