In what felt likely an oddly timed announcement, Randy Edsall declared to the world after losing to FCS Holy Cross that at the end of the 2021 season he would be retiring as the UConn Football coach. Then, just days later, it’s announced that Edsall is stepping down as the head coach effective immediately in a “mutual decision” between Athletic Director David Benedict and Edsall. Like his first tenure with the Huskies, the ending of UConn and Edsall 2.0 is messy and odd. There is one thing Edsall is consistently good at: leaving programs in unceremonious ways.
As a fan of the Huskies football program, I’m not unhappy with the turn of events the last few days. I was relieved when I heard the news that Edsall would retire at the end of the season because frankly he’s done absolutely nothing to turn this program around in his second stint as head coach. There was so much hype and hope after canceling last season and seemingly taking the surprise extra time to work on fundamentals and strengthening the players within the program. There was a buzz around recruiting within the new independent schedule and it appeared as if we might see an improved team in 2021, even if there was still plenty of room for growth. Unfortunately, the first two games proved that there has been very little, if any, progress to show for the year without games. In some ways, they took a massive step backward.
From my vantage point, it feels like Edsall realized his job was on the line after getting blown out by Fresno State and losing in embarrassing fashion to FCS Holy Cross, so in an effort to save face by putting an end date on his career and controlling the narrative, he made the retirement announcement. It wouldn’t shock me if David Benedict wasn’t pleased with that move and made it clear that the product on the field wasn’t acceptable. Benedict was probably planning, or at least considering, letting Edsall go in the short term and gave him the choice to step down and leave gracefully or be fired. If I’m the AD at UConn after Saturday’s performance, Edsall’s on the next bus out of town.
Ultimately, a change needed to happen and the quicker it happens, the quicker the program can begin to rebound and get a new head coach with a new direction, hopefully a successful one. For now, defensive coordinator Lou Spanos will lead the Huskies, presumably at least until the end of the season. Benedict now gets a chance to at least see what Lou can do as head coach to determine if he should be seriously considered for the permanent gig. Who knows what the future will hold, but the present is messy.