JOE D’S NOTEBOOK 12/13/2013
FRIDAY- THE DAY AFTER: Once upon a time, in a world far, far away, head coaches were hired, told the assembled media what there plans were for the future and that was that. Now, in the world of 24 hour sports talk, and social media, you can’t just do that, you have to win the press conference.
By all accounts, Bob Diaco won his introductory press conference as the 30th head football coach at UConn. The 40 year old New Jersey native showed all the characteristics that made him so appealing to athletic director Warde Manuel. Passionate about his sports and his craft, Diaco said all the right things during the formal press conference, in the individual 1 on 1’s and in his initial appearance on SportsTalk, his final media commitment of day one.If he was tired, and he sure had reason to be, Bob did not show it.
Diaco has progressed from player, to assistant coach, to coordinator and now head coach. He has had a passion for playing since his days in the backyard with his dad, who was in attendance yesterday. His football pedigree is a strong one. Hayden Fry, Al Groh and Brian Kelly is a pretty strong football family tree. His Notre Dame defense in 2012 was the best in the country, Testimonials from former colleagues and players are strong.
And it matters not if Diaco was the top pick, the second pick or the fifth choice of Manuel. He was the pick and is the one who was offered the job and accepted. I think you have to applaud the method in which Manuel made the most importance decision of his tenure at UConn. When he left on Sunday morning, he was a man on a mission and it is mission accomplished.
Now comes the tough stuff with the hiring of a coaching staff. No one knows how many, if any, of the current staff will be retained. Normally, at least one assistant is retained to provide continuity with the remaining players. There are certainly qualified candidates though there has been some speculation that some of the current staff won’t be interviewing and will elect to move on. After hearing Diaco describe what he is looking for from his offense, Husky fans have to be excited. Diaco inherits a quarterback who had great success in the last three games, some outstanding receivers, running backs who have proven they can play, and a very, very inexperienced offensive line.
It promises to be an exciting ride. And we will have a special edition of the Coaches Show with Bob on Tuesday night at the Wood-N-Tap in Vernon at 6 pm. Hope you can join us at the restaurant or on the air.