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Edsall's departure from UConn

By Ryan Hannable

On Jan. 2, the day after the UConn Huskies lost to the Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl long time head coach Randy Edsall announced that he would be leaving UConn and taking the head coaching job at the University of Maryland. Many UConn followers were outraged for his departure, but in the end Edsall owes nothing to UConn because of everything that he did for the program and University.

Edsall took over the program in 1999 and UConn was still in Division I-AA. A year later the Huskies moved up to Division I-A, but they were not in a conference they were an independent school for the first four years. In 2004 UConn joined the Big East Conference and in their first season they went 8-4 and qualified for the Motor City Bowl. They defeated Toledo 39-10.

The Huskies struggled in 2005 and 2006, with back to back losing seasons. In 2007 they turned it around and finished tied for first in the Big East, compiling a 9-4 record overall. They earned a trip to the Meineke Car Care Bowl, but they were defeated by Wake Forest 24-10.

Edsall then led the Huskies to three straight 8-5 seasons from 2008-2010 and won the International Bowl in 2008 and the Papajohns.com Bowl in 2009. Also in 2009, cornerback Jasper Howard was murdered on campus after the homecoming game. Edsall kept both the team and school together in a time of mourning, something that will never be forgotten.

In 2010 UConn won their first Big East Conference title and earned the schools first ever trip to a BCS Bowl game- the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. UConn was clearly outmatched by the Big 12 powerhouse Oklahoma Sooners, but UConn did put up a decent fight and fell 48-20.

After the game, Edsall did not fly back to Storrs, Conn. with the team. Instead he flew right to Maryland where he took a tour of the campus and a short time later accepted their head coaching job. Maryland is in the ACC, which is a more competitive football conference with teams like Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech etc. According to the Hartford Courant, Edsall was making $1.5 million a year at UConn. According to coacheshotseat.com the former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen was earning $1.75 million a year and one would imagine Edsall would make that number, or a little more.

In leaving UConn Edsall will take over a Maryland program that won nine games in 2010 and is currently on the rise looking to earn a trip to it's first BCS game. UConn hit it's peak in 2010, with an outstanding senior class that will now be graduating. Also, star junior running back Jordan Todman announced he would be entering the NFL draft. UConn is now entering a rebuilding stage, Edsall already proved that he can turn a program from Division I-AA to a BCS appearance in a little over 10 years.

Maryland will give Edsall a chance to once again turn a program around and try and lead them to a BCS Bowl appearance. Maryland's attendance at home games has declined in the past few years, and that is something Edsall would like to change right away. Edsall will surely give the Maryland program a new look, fresh face and a win now attitude.

For all the believers that Edsall is wrong for leaving UConn, they are wrong. Edsall owes UConn nothing. He turned the football program from a nothing to a team that had four straight winning seasons and four straight bowl games, capped off with a trip to a BCS Bowl game. With the football teams success it has brought millions of dollars of revenue into the University and gained more fans than ever.

At his introductory press conference at Maryland Edsall called the job, "a dream job". Shouldn't the winningest coach in UConn football history and the guy that turned the program into a nationally recognized program be able to take his "dream job" without any criticism? You would think, but that has not been the case. Fans and followers need to respect Edsall and appreciate everything he has done for the football program and University of Connecticut.

I will be writing UConn basketball/football articles from time to time, focusing on basketball in the upcoming weeks. Feel free to email me at ryanhannable@yahoo.com with any questions or comments. Also, follow me on twitter at Hannable84.

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