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Edsall says after building UConn, he wants to stay
STORRS, CONN. (AP) - Connecticut football coach Randy Edsall said Monday that he is not looking for any other job.
Edsall, who has led Connecticut to an 8-4 record and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl, has been mentioned as a candidate for numerous other major coaching positions, including recent vacancies at Minnesota, Florida and Miami.
He refused to say whether he interviewed anywhere else, but said he is happy in his 12th year at UConn, which he built from a Division I-AA program to a two-time Big East conference co-champion. It is the first school in New England invited to a BCS bowl.
“We built something here from the ground floor, from scratch in my opinion, and there is a certain pride that you take in molding and developing and raising a child,” he said. “And that’s what we’ve done, we’ve raised a child here.”
Edsall was lauded last season for keeping the Huskies together after the stabbing death of cornerback Jasper Howard, and was considered a hot commodity after the team finished with four straight wins, including victories vs. Notre Dame and South Carolina.
His name was linked to openings at several schools, including Notre Dame, but he ultimately stayed at Connecticut. As such, there were high expectations this season, but after a 3-4 start, he was criticized on talk radio and Internet message boards, with some fans calling for him to be fired.
A 5-0 finish, though, including wins over co-champions Pittsburgh and West Virginia, changed their tune. And again, just like that, his name was back on short lists in coaching searches.
But Edsall said as long as he continues to like his job in Connecticut, he plans to stay.
And what’s not to like?
“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” Edsall said. “I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been around some really good people and understand what life’s all about.”
Edsall said when he was hired at Connecticut, then-athletic director Lew Perkins essentially told him, “Here’s the keys. Go drive the car. There’s no owners manual.”
He said even he had doubts that he could build a successful program in Storrs, especially after his first three seasons, which the Huskies finished 4-7, 3-8, and 2-9.
But the university and the state showed a commitment to the program, building a 40,000-seat stadium in East Hartford, and a $50 million on-campus practice facility.
Since becoming a full Division I-A team in 2002, Connecticut is 65-45, has pieces of two conference titles and five bowl bids. They are 3-1 in bowl games headed into the Fiesta.
After 12 years, the only goals left on his list now, are winning a BCS bowl and winning a national championship. He can accomplish one of those in a few weeks.
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