Possible Replacements for Pasqualoni at UConn That Are From Connecticut

Possible Replacements for Pasqualoni at UConn That Are From Connecticut
1 comment, 10/01/2013, by , in LOCAL, SPORTS


Photo Source – Facebook.com/PaulPasqualoniFootballCamp

Paul Pasqualoni has been fired as the head coach of the UConn football team, and it’s a shame. With the coaching resume he has, I thought he was going to be a good fit for the Huskies. Unfortunately, after several sub-par seasons and an 0-4 start to this season, Pasqualoni was let go. Offensive coordinator T.J. Weist has taken over head coaching duties, but UConn athletic director Warde Manuel has stated that the program’s search for a permanent replacement is “ongoing”, but will not be resolved by the end of the season.

Pasqualoni hails from Chesire, so if UConn wants to keep the job local, here are three coaches, all with NFL coaching experience, that were born in Connecticut, and would be a great fit for UConn;

Tony Sparano


Photo Source – Wikimedia.org/Tony_Sparano

I put Tony up first because he’s from my hometown of West Haven. Tony has both NCAA and NFL coaching experience that spans 30 years. Tony played football for the University of New Haven and upon graduating, would accept a job at his alma mater as the offensive line coach. From there he would coach at Boston University, but eventually return to be the head coach at UNH in 1994. In 1997, Sparano would lead UNH to a 12-2 record that brought them to the Division II National Championship, which they would lose to Northern Colorado.

From there The NFL came calling. Sparano would have stints with the Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, and Jacksonville Jaguars. He would eventually become assistant head coach of the Dallas Cowboys under the great Bill Parcells. He then became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, and led them to an 11-5 record in his first season, but back-to-back 7-9 seasons, and a 4-9 start to the 2011 season would lead to Sparano’s downfall in Miami. From Miami he went to the New York Jets as offensive coordinator under Rex Ryan, but after a poor season offensively, he would be fired, but then hired by the Oakland Raiders as assistant head coach and offensive line coach, positions he still holds now.

Final Thought – Pulling him from an assistant head coaching job in the NFL could be tough, but the Raiders aren’t good, and if someone could save a sinking ship, it’s Sparano, much like he did in Miami. He’s the only coach in NFL history to take a team that won just one game the previous season to the playoffs the next. My vote is for Tony Sparano.

Eric Mangini


Photo Source – Flickr.com
The prodigal son, the Boy Wonder of the NFL starting his football career as a linebacker for Buckley High School in Hartford and played nose tackle for D-III Wesleyan, where he holds the school’s single season (11.5) and career (36.5) sacks records.

Mangini started off as a ball boy for the Cleveland Browns, and that’s where he caught the eye of the evil genius, Bill Belichick. Belichick was impressed by Mangini’s work ethic, so he would promote him to public relations, and eventually an offensive assistant. Mangining would spend the 1996 season as an offensive assistant for the Baltimore Ravens, but would rejoin Belichick when he was hired by the New England Patriots, and we all know what happened then. Mangini actually turned down offers from the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, and Cleveland Browns before going to New England.

After winning 3 Super Bowls as the defensive coordinator in New England, Mangini took the head coach job for the New York Jets. Things started pretty good, but a late season collapse in 2008 meant the Jets would miss the playoffs, and Mangini was let go. For there he went back to Cleveland to be the head coach of the Browns, but after two 5-11 seasons, he was fired. After spending a year and a half as a football analyst for ESPN, Mangini was hired by the San Francisco 49ers as a senior offensive consultant.

Final Thought – Bottom line, Eric Mangini has 3 Super Bowl rings, Tony Sparano has none. Mangini is also young, only 42. Again, pulling Mangini away from a Super Bowl contender could be tough, but he has said he wants to be a head coach again. Problem is, a head coach job in the NFL isn’t going to just pop up any time soon. Here’s his chance to head coach a D-I program, the closest thing to the NFL, in his home state.

Kevin Gilbride


Photo Source – Flickr.com
My third and final choice as a replacement at UConn is probably the least likely, but Kevin Gilbride is from Connecticut, and he does have an impressive resume.
Gilbride is from New Haven, and is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University. Gilbride has been an assistant for numerous college and pro teams, including a sting in the CFL. If I went through every team he’s coached, this post would be longer than it already is, so here are some highlights.

He would be the head coach at his alma mater, SCSU, for 4 seasons, bounce around a few more college teams before becoming the offensive coordinator for the Houston Oilers. His most memorable moment while in Houston is when he a offensive coordinator Buddy Ryan had a disagreement on the sidelines, which led to Ryan throwing a punch at Gilbride during a nationally televised game. Gilbride then became the offensive coordinator for the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars under head coach Tom Coughlin (Sound familiar?). From Jacksonville he became the head coach of the San Diego Chargers, and it did not go well. The Chargers went 6-16 in a season and a half under Gilbride. He would then be the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, and finally end up with the New York Football Giants, teaming up with Tom Coughlin yet again. The Giants have won 2 Super Bowls since Coughlin and Gilbride teamed back up.

Final Thought – Again, this is the least likely option UConn has, but with the way the Giants have started this season, who knows what will happen. Plus, Gilbride has experience on both the college and professional levels. Could be a great fit, I just see this one happening.

Sources – NFL.com, usatoday.com, pro-football-reference.com

About Magilla


I'm with you on Tony Sparano, I used to go to a few games a year as a kid when the Chargers were at the top of their game.  He's proven to be an excellent college coach, there's no reason he can't have success at the FBS level.