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Paul Pasqualoni Returns To The Big East: Former Syracuse Coach To Replace Randy Edsall At UConn

Connecticut native Paul Pasqualoni, lately of the Dallas Cowboys, previously of the Miami Dolphins, and -- clutch those pearls! -- storied veteran of Syracuse Football, is returning to the Big East to helm the UConn Huskies following the departure of Randy Edsall to Maryland, according to the Boston Globe. Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant reports there's a five-year deal in place with a very low seven-figure salary attached.

Quoth Stewart Mandel: "At least he's not in danger of jumping to a better job." And what says the peanut gallery? A couple weeks back, when the search opened, our own UConn Blog had this to say about the "uninspired" list of prospective candidates, including Pasqualoni:

[As]  expected, the early candidates to replace Edsall are just more of the same: pro-style coaches with "high character" and ties to the state.

There, there. University brass may have had a good reason for this hire ...  but if the Huskies' AD can think of any, he's keeping them to himself:

University of Connecticut athletic director Jeff Hathaway chose experience as a Big East head coach and at the FBS level as the deciding factor in choosing to hire former Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni over former University of Massachusetts coach Mark Whipple.

Mark Whipple would not have been what you'd call a slam-dunk hire, but a precondition of Big East experience is so laughable given the current state of the conference that it defies any metaphors attempting to embrace it.

SB Nation's Syracuse community, for their part, is thrilled to death to see the return of the man who helmed the Orange from 1987-2004, but perhaps not for reasons that bode too well for the Huskies:

Syracuse vs. UConn was already developing into a pretty decent on-field rivalry. Well Syracuse vs. UConn just went to the next level. Think about it. The longtime Syracuse man who was unceremoniously fired by the university's hot-shot new AD returns to coach their yearly rival and faceoff against said AD, the University that cast him aside and the fanbase that didn't appreciate him.

This is EXACTLY what Syracuse needs in terms of building local rivalries and it's EXACTLY what the Big East needs. SU-UConn might not be the Backyard Brawl but I'm willing to bet that 2011 game is going to be the second-most "rivalrous" game in the conference.

For more on the UConn coaching change and for all your Huskies athletics news, visit SB Nation's UConn Blog, where they've responded with great sighs of enthusiasm: "Well, then."