UConn became the second BCS school with a job opening this year, as coach Paul Pasqualoni was fired after an 0-4 start to the 2013 season.
The Huskies are off to an 0-4 start and was soundly defeated 41-12 by Buffalo in Week 5.
Despite his successful record at Syracuse (1991-2004, 107-59-1) Pasqualoni wasn’t a popular hire at UConn, especially since he was out of the college game for six years.
UConn is a solid job that should attract plenty of attention from candidates.
The Huskies were left behind in realignment but have the resources necessary to consistently compete for the American Athletic title.
Who will replace Pasqualoni at UConn? Here are 10 candidates, along with a few longshots to watch over the next few months.
10 Coaches to Replace Paul Pasqualoni at UConn
Rob Ambrose, head coach, Towson
Ambrose is a familiar name to UConn, as he served as the Huskies’ offensive coordinator from 2002-08 under Randy Edsall. Prior to his stint at UConn, Ambrose worked at Catholic for one season and served as Towson’s wide receiver coach from 1993-00. Ambrose took over as Towson’s head coach in 2009 and went 3-19 in his first two years. However, the Tigers are 21-7 in the last three seasons and won at UConn earlier this year. Towson is also ranked No. 3 in the FCS Top 25 after Week 5.
Don Brown, defensive coordinator, Boston College
Whether he’s been a coordinator or head coach, Brown has had plenty of success in his coaching career. The Massachusetts native began his career at Dartmouth in 1982 and spent one season with the Big Green, before working as a defensive coordinator at Mansfield (1983), then Dartmouth again from 1984-86, followed by a stop at Yale from 1987-92. Brown’s first head coaching gig was with Plymouth State, and he recorded a 25-6 mark from 1993-95. After serving as an assistant with Brown and UMass, Brown was hired as Northeastern’s head coach in 2000, recording a 27-20 mark in four seasons. In 2004, Brown was hired at UMass and went 43-19 and led the Minutemen to a FCS title appearance in 2006. The 57-year-old coach worked under Paul Pasqualoni from 2011-12 as UConn’s defensive coordinator.
Dave Clawson, head coach, Bowling Green
Clawson gets a bad rap for his one season as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, but the New York native has been a successful head coach at three different stops. After starting 3-19 at Fordham, Clawson recorded three consecutive winning seasons and led the Rams to a playoff berth in 2002. Clawson was 29-20 in four seasons at Richmond and is 26-29 with two bowl appearances at Bowling Green. Clawson also has a background on offense, which should be attractive for UConn considering its recent struggles on that side of the ball.
Mario Cristobal, offensive line coach, Alabama
Cristobal was surprisingly fired at FIU after last season, but the Miami native should be a head coach again in the near future. In six years with the Panthers, Cristobal inherited an academic disaster and turned FIU into a Sun Belt contender, which included two bowl appearances. Even though Cristobal has spent most of his career in Miami, he worked at Rutgers from 2001-03 as an assistant under Greg Schiano. Despite his record at FIU, Cristobal is a good coach and is regarded as a strong recruiter.
Bob Diaco, defensive coordinator, Notre Dame
Diaco was one of the key masterminds behind Notre Dame’s run to the national championship game last season, as the Fighting Irish’s defense allowed only 12.8 points a game. For his work with the Notre Dame defense in 2012, Diaco earned the Broyles Award for the nation’s top assistant coach. The New Jersey native played at Iowa from 1992-95 and in addition to his tenure in South Bend, has stops as an assistant at Western Illinois, Iowa, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Virginia and Cincinnati. Diaco has no head coaching experience.
Turner Gill, head coach, Liberty
Gill didn’t work out at Kansas (5-19 from 2010-11), but he was regarded for his tenure at Buffalo, which included a MAC title in 2008. Gill’s final record with the Bulls was just 20-30 in four seasons, but the 8-6 mark in 2008 was Buffalo’s only winning year since 1997. Gill is 9-7 in two years with Liberty and the Flames nearly beat Kent State in the opener this season. The former Nebraska quarterback has ties to UConn, as athletic director Warde Manuel hired Gill at Buffalo.
Pete Lembo, head coach, Ball State
Lembo has been a successful head coach at three different stops and is due for a promotion to a BCS job. In five years at Lehigh, Lembo went 44-14 and had two playoff appearances. Lembo left for Elon in 2006 and guided the Phoenix to a 35-22 mark, with one playoff appearance in 2009. In three years with Ball State, Lembo is 19-11 and led the Cardinals to a bowl game last season. Is UConn a big enough jump for Lembo? Or will he hold out for a spot in the Big Ten?
Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator, Michigan State
Narduzzi is one of the early favorites to succeed Pasqualoni. The 47-year-old coach is a Connecticut native and is ready for a chance to run his own program. Narduzzi spent part of his playing career at Rhode Island and coached as an assistant with the Rams from 1993-99. Narduzzi has worked as a defensive coordinator since 2003, making stops with Miami (Ohio), Cincinnati and Michigan State. Under his watch, the Spartans have been one of the best defenses in the Big Ten. Narduzzi has no prior head coaching experience, but his ties to the area and resume make him a strong candidate.
Bob Shoop, defensive coordinator, Vanderbilt
Shoop wouldn’t be a big-name hire, but the Pennsylvania native is a name to watch in UConn’s coaching search. Shoop has spent most of his career in the Northeast, starting at Yale in 1989 and continuing with stops as an assistant at Virginia, Northeastern, Villanova, Army, Boston College, UMass and William & Mary. Shoop was Columbia’s head coach – a program without a winning record since 1996 – from 2003-05 and went 7-23 in three seasons. Under Shoop, Vanderbilt’s defenses have been among the best in the SEC, finishing fifth in the conference in yards allowed in 2012 and sixth in 2011.
Bobby Wilder, head coach, Old Dominion
Wilder hasn’t gotten enough credit for his work at Old Dominion, but he could be a name that pops up for job openings this offseason. The Monarchs restarted football after a 69-year absence in 2009, and Wilder was picked as the program’s coach. Under his watch, Old Dominion is 40-12 and made back-to-back playoff appearances from 2011-12. The Monarchs are transitioning to the FBS level and will join Conference USA in 2014. Prior to his tenure at Old Dominion, Wilder worked as an assistant at Maine from 1990-2006. Considering UConn’s recent offensive struggles, Wilder has to be an intriguing candidate if he’s interested. The Monarchs have averaged over 30 points a game in each of Wilder’s four seasons and led the FCS with an average of 45.2 points a contest last year.
Joe Moorhead, head coach, Fordham
Moorhead is unlikely to get a call from UConn, but he has done a good job in two years at Fordham. The Rams were 6-16 in the two years prior to his arrival and are 10-5 under Moorhead’s watch. Fordham won at Temple earlier this season.
Tim Murphy, head coach, Harvard
Murphy’s name came up in connection with the Penn State job two years ago, and more FBS programs should take notice of the job he’s done at Harvard. The Crimson is 130-61 under Murphy’s watch and finished in the final FCS Top 25 poll five times. Before taking over at Harvard, Murphy was a head coach at Maine and Cincinnati.
Danny Rocco, head coach, Richmond
Rocco is an under-the-radar name to watch. From 2006-11, he guided Liberty to a 47-20 record and is 10-6 in two years with Richmond. The Spiders finished 18th in last year’s FCS poll and nearly upset NC State earlier this season. Rocco also has experience from stops as an assistant at Colorado, Tulsa, Boston College, Texas, Maryland and Virginia.
Greg Schiano, head coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Schiano is on the hot seat in Tampa Bay and may not return for a third season in 2014. If he doesn’t return to the Buccaneers, Schiano should get a look for college openings. From 2001-2011, Rutgers went 68-67 and recorded six bowl appearances under Schiano’s watch.