- Associated Press - Friday, January 14, 2011

STORRS, CONN. (AP) - New UConn football coach Paul Pasqualoni described his position Friday as “absolutely the right fit.”

Pasqualoni, a Connecticut native and former Syracuse coach, said at a news conference that he has significant ties in the region and will recruit around the Northeast.

“This was for me absolutely the right fit, being comfortable, knowing the terrain,” Pasqualoni said in remarks reported by The Hartford Courant.

The 61-year-old coach grew up in Cheshire, Conn., and was head coach and athletic director at Western Connecticut from 1982-86. He coached at Syracuse for 14 years before moving to the NFL, working most recently as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator.

“This is very, very exciting for me,” Pasqualoni said. “Immediately my plate is pretty full. My first concern is the staff and putting together the best possible staff we can here at the University of Connecticut.”

Pasqualoni replaces Randy Edsall, who took the head coaching job at Maryland after leading UConn to an 8-5 season and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. The Huskies lost to Oklahoma 48-20.

Edsall coached for 12 years at UConn and moved the team from Division I-AA into the Big East. His teams won a share of the conference championship in 2007 and this past season.

Since becoming a full Division I-A (now Football Bowl Subdivision) team in 2002, Connecticut is 65-46.

Pasqualoni was announced as the new head coach on Thursday. His contract includes a total salary this season of $1.5 million, which will increase annually until 2015 when he will be paid $1.9 million.

At Syracuse, he compiled a 107-59-1 record before being fired after the 2004 season. He took the Orange to nine bowls, won three consecutive Big East Conference titles from 1996 to 1998 and shared the title with West Virginia in 2004.

Pasqualoni began his coaching career in 1972 at Cheshire High school, his alma mater.