Monday, September 30, 2013

Pasqualoni and DeLeone fired by UConn

UConn pulled the plug on the Paul Pasqualoni era, firing both him and offensive line coach George DeLeone today.

The school announced Monday that it had fired Pasqualoni, a Cheshire native, after an 0-4 start to his third season. Pasqualoni posted a 10-18 record as UConn’s head coach with nine of those losses by at least 10 points.

Pasqualoni, hired prior to the 2011 season after Randy Edsall left for Maryland, was fired just four games into his third season. The school also fired associate head coach and offensive line coach George DeLeone.
Taking over a program which had posted four consecutive winning seasons, Pasqualoni posted back to back 5-7 seasons and there were calls for Pasqualoni’s removal at the end of the 2012 season by UConn director of athletics Warde Manuel who was hired after Pasqualoni was brought on board by former UConn AD Jeff Hathaway.

Pasqualoni will receive a $750,000 buyout.

Manuel said in a statement that he was hoping to see “improved performance” as the team headed toward conference play.

“I am disappointed in the record of our team thus far, but I am confident that our coaching staff and student-athletes will continue to work hard to improve and that will be reflected on the field of play as we start our American Athletic Conference season,” Manuel said.

UConn will hold a 4 p.m. news confernece to discuss the firing and announce plans for a replacement.

With the departures of Pasqualoni and DeLeone, the only current member of the UConn coaching staff with previous head-coaching experience at the college level is Mike Foley who was the head coach at Colgate from 1987-92.

On a conference call with the media on Sunday Pasqualoni addressed the growing discontent from the UConn fan base on the direction the program is headed.

“I understand the nature of this game,” Pasqualoni said. “I understand the nature of fans and people, everybody has their opinion and are free to express their opinion but that doesn’t discourage me. I understand it is part of it. I have been in this for a long time in a lot of places and it all goes with the territory. It is my job to do the best we can do here, utilize the personnel and trying to move the program forward. That is my job and that is what I am going to do.”

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood and Charlie Strong of Louisville, the only current head coaches in the American Athletic Conference to have squared off against Pasqualoni at UConn reacted to the news of Pasqualoni’s firing.

“Paul Pasqualoni is somebody I looked up to at a very early stage in my career as a high school and college coach in the New York/New Jersey area as a coach at Syracuse and Coach P really set the standard for what a college coach’s relationship should be with the high school coaches,” Flood said. “He is a very well respected figure in New York and New Jersey and that is because of the genuineness of the relationships that he has built over time and I think all of us as younger coaches hopefully some day the high school coaches will feel about us the way I know they feel about Paul Pasqualoni.”

Pasqualoni’s signature victory was 23-20 win at Louisville last season.

“He is an outstanding coach and I know he will do well wherever he ends up,” Strong said. “He has an outstanding staff and just what they where able to accomplish and I have no doubt they will be able to bounce back because it is all about getting the players behind you.”

The players publicly stood behind Pasqualoni. With no game until the Huskies host winless South Florida on Oct. 12 at noon, they have a little more time to deal with the change in leadership.

“Really it is unbelievable,” UConn senior offensive guard Steve Greene said. “We would never have thought that we would have started 0-4 like this. I think it is important that everybody knows that all of our goals and still right in front of us. We set out every year with our goal to win the conference and that is still in front of us so. We have this bye week to regroup, to get our stuff corrected an start that next chapter of our season; there is no quit in this team.”


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