MONDAY: The loss to Buffalo was too much for Warde Manuel to digest. The UConn athletic director talked twice on Sunday to President Susan Herbst and when he spoke to her a second time around 6 pm, he had decided to make a coaching change with the UConn Football program.
Paul Pasqualoni was relieved of his duties early Monday morning along with assistant head coach and offensive line coach George DeLeone. The pair had come to UConn together in January of 2011 and the record wasn’t good. 10-18 in 2 1/3 seasons, never winning two straight games in that time and this season losing the first four for the first time since 1991. It’s not that Pasqualoni didn’t work hard. Countless nights, you could see his car parked in the garage across from the Burton Family Football Complex. Paul worked and worked to try and find the solution to turn UConn back into a winning program. But the dismal nature of the loss to Buffalo, plus the disappointing setback in game one to Towson and the bye week all conspired against him.De Leone was also let go, the deterioration of the offensive line over the last two years proving to be his ultimate downfall.
Manuel has turned the keys to the car to T.J.Weist, the offensive coordinator brought in this season. Many speculated that if a change was made, Mike Foley would get the job but Manuel went with Weist, entrusting the offensive line to Foley, who had done terrific things with that unit before being moved to coaching the tight ends prior to last season.On SportsTalk Monday night, T.J. talked about the need for focus. He said one of the big things during the bye week would be evaluating every position,including quarterback.
Both Manuel and Weist insisted that there is still much to be gained this season. The initial AAC title is up for grabs. And they both said these players need the support of the fans,many of whom had been calling for a coaching change via social media.
The athletic director said his focus for the next nine weeks will be on this years team, and that he wouldn’t begin to actively search for a new head coach until after this season. When asked what Weist has to do to get a chance at the full time job, Manuel’s answer was succinct, “win”. And at the end of the day, winning and graduating players is the most important thing for any college head coach.
Paul Pasqualoni is a very,very good man. I have enjoyed getting to know him and working with him. But the numbers showed he couldn’t win. And that led to his departure.