Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Paul Pasqualoni Joins Lane Kiffin on the Scrap Heap

After 10 wins in three years, a season-opening home loss to Towson, and an 0-4 start capped with an embarrassing 41-12 loss at Buffalo, the Paul Pasqualoni experiment is finally over at Connecticut.

We've been calling for this one for weeks, and after Saturday's showing it was clear to everyone following the Huskies that Pasqualoni's jig was up. Any goodwill he built up with UConn's near upset was washed away with the loss at Buffalo, which Athletic Director Warde Manuel called unacceptable before replacing Pas with offensive coordinator T.J. Weist. Pasqualoni's firing after four games is the fastest a coach at a BCS school has been axed since the system began in 1998 (besting Lane Kiffin's previous record of five, which he held for approximately 20 hours).

The long overdue firing marks the end of a misguided era at UConn, whose football program dropped from the BCS to a doormat in 28 games under Pasqualoni. UConn went 10-18 in two-plus seasons under Pas, but the record underscores more serious issues with the team. The Huskies infamous problems throwing the ball predate Pasqualoni by decades, but the program spent most of the early 2000s growing into a nationally relevant Big East contender behind outstanding ground games and stalwart defenses. The passing game stayed inept under Pasqualoni, but the running game, defense, and recruiting quickly sank to the air attack's level, nullifying any progress the program made under Randy Edsall and leaving UConn on the outside looking in when the realignment dust settled. This was clearly a team and a program moving in the wrong direction, and with Pasqualoni's firing all but assured following the Buffalo loss Manuel was right to lower the axe now instead of wasting another full season on a sunk cost that clearly didn't work.

Weist, an Alabama graduate who has coached at the FBS and FCS level for the last 25 years, gets his first shot at a head coaching position. He was a wide receivers coach at Cincinnati from 2010-2012, before taking the OC job in Storrs.

Pasqualoni will receive a $750,000 buyout.

One more time before the door hits him on the way out:

(Photo: USATSI)

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