The UConn Huskies are off to a brutal, 0-4 start to the 2013 season. With losses already to FCS-level Towson and MAC bottom-feeder Buffalo, athletic director Warde Manuel pulled the plug on now-former coach Paul Pasqualoni. He coached at Syracuse from 1991-2004, spent some time in the NFL and two-plus seasons with the Huskies.
He heads home to lick his wounds with a 10-18 record. The job of finding his winning replacement now falls on Manuel’s shoulders. But who will be UConn’s next head coach?
The way we see it, there are three options for Manuel to choose from: A big-time defensive coordinator, offensive coordinator or lower-level head coach. The name can either make a splash in headlines or, more importantly, in terms of statistics.
Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi’s name has come up in the days since Pasqualoni’s firing. Along with mighty Alabama, the Spartans defensive unit is the one of two that has finished in the top 15 in total defense, rushing defense, passing defense and scoring defense in each of the last two seasons. He is a New Haven native and played his college ball at Rhode Island, so he has ties to the region.
There are a couple other defensive coordinators to keep an eye on. Florida’s D.J. Durkin is in just his first year at the position, but he has already worked under Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh and now Will Muschamp. Notre Dame’s Bob Diaco led one of the best units in the nation to the BCS title game a year ago. Don Brown is now the D-coordinator at Boston College but he once led lowly UMass to a 43-19 record as head coach.
If Manuel would like to move away from the Pasqualoni mold and try to move toward a more offensively-orientated program, there will be one huge name to try to reel in: Cam Cameron. After years in the NFL, Cameron is now leading the LSU offense to new heights and has basically turned quarterback Zach Mettenberger into a new player. However, the Tigers are scheduled to pay him $1.3 million in 2014 and $1.5 million in 2015. Would Manuel have enough booster money to make it happen?
If he wants to spend a little less on an offensive mind, he is already familiar with Rob Ambrose. Not only is he the head coach of a Towson team that beat his Huskies badly this year, but he used to be UConn’s offensive coordinator. Ball State’s Pete Lembo (Born in New York, coached at Lehigh and Elon) and Bowling Green’s Dave Clawson (coached at Fordham and Richmond) each have real ties to the Northeast, each have FBS-level head coaching experience and each specialize on the offensive side of the football.
Mark Whipple may be currently unemployed, but he has compiled a 121-59 record at New Haven, Brown and UMass.
Speaking of unemployed head coaches, the rumors swirling around Greg Schiano with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking more and more ominous by the day. If he gets canned, would he return to the collegiate level? After leading Rutgers to its first bowl game since 1978, he proved he understands how to recruit the region and play winning football as well. The name would be a huge splash.
That is a lot of resumes for Manuel to sift through. He may consider all of these highly-experienced men, or none of them.
However, should he decide to go with one listed here, who would it be?