College football programs are wasting no time firing coaches who don't produce in a timely manner. The latest coach to be shown the door is Connecticut's Paul Pasqualoni, who has been fired immediately, sources confirmed to the The Hartford Courant Monday.
Desmond Conner of The Hartford Courant broke the news via Twitter:
Paul Pasqualoni has been fired as #UConnFootball coach.— Desmond Conner (@desmondconner) September 30, 2013
Another source said that associate head coach and an offensive line coach George DeLeone has also been fired, according to the report.
UConn President Susan Herbst commented on the decision, per John F. Silver of Snyuconn.com:
A decision has been made and it’s now time to move on to a stronger future that starts today. What cannot be lost here is how incredibly proud we are of our student-athletes. They are outstanding young men in the midst of a very tough season. Being a Division I athlete and a student is an enormous challenge, and we know how hard they are working and how deeply they care about succeeding for their university.
What this team needs now as much as anything is the support of Husky fans everywhere. As we saw at our last home game, the amazing energy and highly-charged spirit of our fans breathes life into this team and that must continue and be repeated again and again. There is no substitute. Support from fans lifts players up and keeps a team going. It is essential to competing and achieving the levels of excellence we demand at UConn.
The Huskies have promoted an interim coach, according to the official UConn Twitter page:
Offensive Coordinator T.J. Weist has been named interim head coach and will lead the team for the remainder of the season. #BleedBlue— UConnFootball (@UConnFootball) September 30, 2013
Weist in his first season as offensive coordinator for Connecticut. Before taking over the position, he spent 16 years coaching in the NFL and was the wide receivers coach at Cincinnati in 2012.
Pasqualoni was in his third season with the program, and this year is by far his worst. After winning five games in back-to-back seasons, the Huskies are sitting with an ugly 0-4 record that includes a recent 41-12 beatdown to Buffalo and a 32-21 loss to Maryland. The school also lost to FCS Towson 33-18 in the season opener.
Did Paul Pasqualoni deserve to be fired?
The highlight of the season was a moral victory when the Huskies nearly upset Michigan in a close 24-21 loss.
Boy, former Connecticut coach Randy Edsall sure did set the bar high before he left, huh? A school more known for its basketball success now expects to compete in the AAC in football. Can't blame them after qualifying for the Fiesta Bowl in 2010 and seeing more and more players selected in the NFL draft.
Last season, there were four Connecticut players drafted, including linebacker Sio Moore, who was selected in the third round by the Oakland Raiders.
With the talent in place and a mediocre schedule, there's no reason the Huskies should be losing to a Division I-AA school.
Pasqualoni has been around the block in his coaching career. He won four Big East titles with Syracuse, was an assistant coach for many years in the NFL and has gone 6-3 in bowl games.
Now, the 64-year-old coach will be taking his talents elsewhere.
As for the Connecticut community, it appears to be quite happy with the firing. Former linebacker Jory Johnson and The Daily Campus' Tim Fontenault provided interesting tweets (h/t College Spun):
Finally "@hartfordcourant: BREAKING: UConn has fired football coach Paul Pasqualoni. Huskies are off to an 0-4 start this season"— JUICE (@JoryJohnson28) September 30, 2013
A group of #UConn football players is in the Union right now. They don't look like a group of guys whose coach just got fired. Look elated.— Tim Fontenault (@Tim_Fontenault) September 30, 2013
This obviously isn't your everyday coaching change.