Thursday, October 22, 2009

UConn's rock

Randy Edsall's conference call is in about a half hour. I'll get those up ASAP.

It's been a difficult week. A young man's life was senselessly taken away. I've felt the pain, and I barely knew Jasper Howard. I can only imagine how hard this has been for his family, friends, teammates and coaches. They say time heals wounds, but this won't get any easier for them any time soon.

Randy Edsall has been simply incredible through this; a rock. And he's been deeply hurt by this tragedy in ways many might not realize. I just read Joe Posnanski's excellent story about Joe Paterno in this week's Sports Illustrated. In it, Paterno is quoted as saying this to his son, Jay:

"Jay, you don't have any kids yet. ... You'll understand once you have kids, that life changes. You'll find that your happiness is defined by your least happy child. You'll understand. Every player we have, someone -- maybe a parent, a godparent, someone -- poured their life and soul into that young man. They are handing that young man off to us. They are giving us their treasure, and it's our job to make sure we give them back that young man intact and ready to face the world."

Edsall feels the same way Paterno does about every player he has ever brought into the UConn program. Or, as he calls it, the UConn family. And there's no question about it, Edsall's program is a family. I can't even begin to fathom how he felt making the call to Jasper's parents, and later picking them up at the airport in Hartford to bring them to see their son's body. The UConn players' understand. Seeing Kijuan Dabney embrace Edsall during last night's vigil proved that. What a moment. Wins and losses don't define a coach. Moments like these do.


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