I grew up on UConn sports. The minute I was introduced to them (at an age so young I can hardly remember), they became a part of me. UConn athletics will be a core part of my life until the day I die (preferably wearing blue and white).
Every athlete and coach that steps on the Storrs campus to represent the University of Connecticut and by extension the great state of Connecticut instantly has a place in my life.
That is until they give me a reason to despise them. Only one man has ever done that.
I remember the hiring of Randy Edsall pretty well. I’ve been going to UConn games so long that my first game was at the now-demolished Memorial Stadium when current South Florida coach Skip Holtz was calling the shots. When he left to make way for Edsall, the man who would see us in to Division I-A, I thought that Edsall would become a legend.
For a minute, well, more like 11 years, I thought I was right.
It’s funny how after 11 years, which is almost 340 million seconds, it only takes a couple seconds to ruin someone’s opinion of you.
For Edsall, that moment came after the 2011 Fiesta Bowl on New Years Day. After the 48-21 loss that was overshadowed by the fact that UConn actually made a BCS bowl, Edsall adressed his team, and allowed the seniors and junior running back Jordan Todman, who was declaring for the NFL, to say goodbye.
The only problem with that moment was that one person forgot to say goodbye to the UConn football team: Randy Edsall.
While the rest of the team boarded a plane to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., Edsall and his family hopped on a plane to Maryland, where one day after UConn ended its 2010 season, he took the position as head coach of the University of Maryland football team.
To be fair, he did eventually tell his players that he was leaving. As he was preparing to leave, he texted many of them.
The two parties went their separate ways, until now.
Saturday afternoon, the juniors and seniors of the UConn football team get their first crack at their old coach since his silent and swift departure.
No matter who you talk to, anyone who remains at UConn from the days of Randy Edsall, students and players alike, and even younger students and players who grew up on UConn football, all want the same thing.
The entire UConn community wants to beat Randy Edsall
Edsall was a hero, not just to me, but to the entire state of Connecticut. What he did for this program: transitioning the team to Division I-A, settling into the Big East, winning a bowl game in the first year they were in the Big East, going to four bowls since, including a BCS bowl, and most importantly, uniting the team after the death of Jasper Howard in 2009, is undeniable. However, his legacy is forever stained by his inability to say one single word…
Senior defensive tackle Ryan Wirth was right. It won’t take much to get fired up for Saturday.