It’s been a heady 48 hours for UConn fans. They went from the giddy anticipation of the Fiesta Bowl to the sobering results and now they found out that the head coach who built the program to this great height is leaving ASAP.
I’m pretty upset about both the timing and the manner of Edsall’s departure. If, as it is being reported, Edsall gave almost no indication to anyone at UConn, ditched the team after the bowl to fly to Maryland and let his players learn about this from twitter and ESPN, that’s a terrible move that feels completely out of character. I have a great deal of respect for everything Edsall did for UConn, and I want to wish him well going forward, but the ending leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Now, the timing: When I wrote three weeks ago that UConn would never have a better time to replace a coach, that was true. And while the athletic department is still in a relatively strong position, it’s certainly weaker than it was in early December. All the press about the financial bath the school took on the bowl game will damage our ability to open the checkbook for a coach, and the 28-point loss on National TV makes the BCS big look (just slightly) less impressive. We’ve also lost a month of recruiting time and perhaps worst of all, if athletic director Jeff Hathaway didn’t know this coming it means that he probably isn’t as prepared as he needs to be to find a replacement ASAP. I was already worried enough about Hathaway’s ability to perform the biggest task of his career, having him be surprised only hurts.