Notre Dame and Randy Edsall: Mutual Interest, Potential Disaster

Marc HalstedCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 4:  Head coach Randy Edsall of the Connecticut Huskies looks on during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Stadium on October 4, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

ESPN is reporting today that Randy Edsall is the next name on Jack Swarbrick’s exclusively elite, and surprisingly short, list of potential head coaching candidates.

The report states that both the University and Edsall have "mutual interest" in each other despite the recent rumors that Brian Kelly is the leading candidate.

Edsall just wrapped up his 11th regular season with the University of Connecticut where he has head-manned the Huskies to a 65-65 record, two bowl game victories, and a 15-21 career Big East record since UConn moved up from independent status in 2004.

2009 brought tragedy to the Husky program when Jasper Howard was killed in a mid-October assault after a campus dance. Edsall’s ability to manage the trauma of a lost player, serve the needs of his devastated players, and lead his program through the rest of the season was both admirable and dignified.

The former Syracuse quarterback graduated in 1979 and served ten years as an Orangemen assistant. From there he continued to grow as part of the Tom Coughlin coaching tree with Boston College and the Jacksonville Jaguars before signing on as defensive coordinator with Georgia Tech in 1998.

Edsall has a deep college coaching background, NFL experience, a major college playing pedigree, and the type of character that Notre Dame is looking for in a head coach.

But Randy Edsall would fail miserably as leader of the Fighting Irish football program.

Edsall has no experience in national recruiting. Despite his experience with BC and UConn he has little expertise in dealing with the diverse world of high school recruiting that includes coaches and players from the likes of Florida’s St. Thomas Acquinas, California football academy Oaks Christian, or the talent-rich Carroll High School of Southlake Texas.

Notre Dame requires national focus in the recruiting game that enables them to land a half-dozen four or five-star recruits they need despite the appropriately strict admission standards of a school that plans to graduate over 95 percent of its football players.

Randy Edsall would struggle to even approach the recruiting standards of the recently deposed Charlie Weis.

Edsall would also struggle to manage the demands of ND Nation. The Howard tragedy unfortunately brought a media circus to the Storrs, Connecticut campus and Edsall has been moderately successful in getting the Huskies to quaint bowl appearances in Detroit (Motor City Bowl against Toledo in 2004) and Charlotte, North Carolina (Meineke Car Care Bowl against Wake Forest in 2004).

Need we remember that this is South Bend. This is Chicago-east. This is NBC at 3:30 every Saturday afternoon and this is the fish bowl that is the University of Notre Dame.

The Carrier Dome, Chestnut Hill, Jacksonville, and Storrs can’t prepare anybody for the media circus of the Blue and Gold.

Finally, it comes down to numbers. 65-65 and 15-21 does not cut it for the next Notre Dame head football coach. Struggling with South Florida, Rutgers, Buffalo, and (gulp!) the Fighting Weisians is not the best resume to come calling with.

UND demands winners. ND Nation demands big names with big records. The national media demands a Fighting Irish face that accurately reflects every tradition of Notre Dame. The 100 young men who hit that beautiful yellow and blue sign every fall Saturday demand a yearly recruiting haul that will drive them to greatness.

Randy Edsall is a man of honor and integrity. He’s an excellent football coach and a fine leader of men.

Randy Edsall is not ready for Notre Dame.

Notre Dame should not be ready for Randy Edsall.