Randy Edsall, who is in his 11th season as head football coach at the University of Connecticut, has dealt with the tragic death of Jasper Howard as best he could. The amount of courage he has had over the last week is why being a head coach has to do with so much more then just the game of football.
Edsall, who lost his father back in February, now has had to deal with the death of a player, Jazz, who he was close with. There has been widespread media attention on this event, and Edsall has remained calm, cool, and collective throughout.
Win or lose today down in West Virginia, Randy Edsall has shown time and time again why he remains committed to the football program at UConn. The death of Jasper Howard touched a wide diversity of people across the Connecticut community.
One of the most touching experiences I can recall was on Wednesday night when Kijuan Dabney called up Coach Edsall to deliver him a letter jacket personally made for him. It was signed by every player, coach, and various faculty at UConn.
On the back was a picture of Coach Edsall and Jazz together. This emotional moment brought tears to the eyes of many in the crowd and everybody on stage. This connection showed the bond that Edsall has created with all of his players.
Randy Edsall is much more then a football coach. He is a mentor, teacher, friend, and most importantly a father figure. These kids come to Connecticut mainly in part because they know what Coach Edsall brings to the table.
He put it best when he said, "One of my sons have been taken away from me," which is exactly how he feels in wake of Jazz's death. Jasper Howard was arguably the best cover corner on this UConn team, and nothing can replace his spirit and playing ability on the field.
The entire UConn football team has had to mourn and grieve the death of Jazz this past week. When the Huskies take the field in Morgantown they will be playing with heavy hearts. Jazz always wanted to beat West Virginia and his team wants to win this game for him.
Coach Edsall has been there for his players every time they need him. He has dealt with these events the best he possibly could, and has remained strong. His ability to remain strong and still prepare for West Virginia is a testament to who Randy Edsall is not only as a coach, but as a person.
Now it is time for him to lead his team on the sideline. To do what he does best, and go out there and win football games. The death of Jasper Howard has put a new prospective on life for me. Every day is a blessing and you have to live each day to the fullest. No matter what happens keep your head high and move forward.
Randy Edsall can be viewed as an inspiration for many. His actions and words over the past week is the exact reason why he is such a great man. When you push football to the side, Coach Edsall has done it all with much adversity during these tough times.