Pasqualoni is out
Following an 0-4 start to the season, UConn is changing football’s leadership
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 23:09
UConn announced on Monday that Paul Pasqualoni, the all-time winningest coach in Big East football history, has been fired following an 0-4 start to the 2013 season.
Offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach T.J. Weist, who was hired from Cincinnati during the offseason, will serve as the interim head coach for the rest of the 2013 season.
“The timing of change is never perfect, but change is necessary,” Manuel said. “I want to thank Paul for his hard work and dedication to UConn.”
In 28 games, spanning two-and-one-third seasons, Pasqualoni, who won 117 games with Syracuse and UConn in the Big East, compiled a record of 10-18. The Huskies finished each of his first two seasons with a 5-7 record, but are winless through four games for the first time since 1991.
“This was not a result of a lack of effort,” Manuel said. “I’m changing now because we have to have different leadership to get different results.”
Pasqualoni was not the only coach fired on Monday. UConn also announced that assistant head coach and offensive line coach George DeLeone, whom Weist replaced as offensive coordinator, was relieved of his duties.
DeLeone will be replaced by tight ends coach Mike Foley, who worked with the offensive line for six years before being moved to tight ends last year.
Manuel said that on Sunday, following the Huskies’ 41-12 loss to Buffalo on Saturday, he called UConn President Susan Herbst to tell her he needed time to think about the coaching situation. At 6 p.m. on Sunday, he told Herbst that it was time for a change.
At 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Manuel met with Pasqualoni to inform him that he would no longer coach the Huskies.
According to Manuel, the decision was not a reaction to losing to Buffalo, but that it was the result of “observations for the last 18 months.”
“It’s not a decision I take lightly,” Manuel said. “It’s not a decision I want to stand here and make after four weeks.”
Weist, a 1988 graduate of Alabama, where he played wide receiver, coached at Alabama, Michigan, Southern Illinois, Tulsa, Indiana, Western Kentucky and Cincinnati before joining UConn ahead of the 2013 season, serving at wide receivers coach at each stop. In eight years at Western Kentucky, he also coached the running backs, was the offensive coordinator for four seasons and was an assistant head coach for three seasons.
Manuel said that Weist’s passion for the game and his desire to win were critical factors in his decision to name the first-year offensive coordinator the interim coach.
Being named the interim coach does not guarantee Weist the permanent position. Manuel said that no coaches on other staffs across the country will be contacted until after the season, and that if Weist wants to be named the head coach, his job is simple.
“If he wants any shot at this job, he has to win,” Manuel said.
Weist said that he is ready to be the head coach and thinks that he can be successful. He is eager to win the job permanently, and he knows what it will take to show Manuel that he can handle it.
“Right now, this is my job,” Weist said. “What happens in December is up to Warde…When he said the bottom line is to win, that’s all there is to it.”
Weist, who runs a high-tempo, no-huddle offense, said that there would be changes made on the offense and that UConn will be a multiple formation team. He also did not rule out the possibility of playing freshman quarterback Tim Boyle. Weist will sit down with his coaching staff this week and evaluate what he thinks need to change before UConn plays again on Oct. 12.
“Right now our focus is on our team,” Weist said. “For the next two weeks, our focus is to beat South Florida.”