The University of Connecticut is playing with the big boys now. Or maybe it is paying to look like a big boy.
Randy Edsall will be returning to the school next season with a new contact, one that will see him making well over $1 million annually, after the coach flirted with the Georgia Tech head job. He follows in the footsteps of Greg Schiano, who last year parlayed a similarly successful season into an offer to coach at Miami before Rutgers forked over the cash needed to keep him in New Jersey.
It was a masterful job by Edsall, playing Connecticut against an ACC school that is at least traditionally relevant in the college football world. It really doesn’t matter that Edsall probably had little interest in the job; it only matters that the interest was there on the other end.
So he held the university up. You can’t blame him. That’s how the coaching profession works. And UConn couldn’t afford to be treated like some mid-major school, letting a better conference swoop up the only coach it has ever had on the Division IA level.
But now Edsall is going to make Jim Calhoun money without anything close to a Jim Calhoun resume.
A lot more is riding on next season than it was in 2005, the year after the Huskies won the Motor City Bowl. Because if the football coach is going to make a basketball legend’s money at a basketball school, he’d better not follow-up a successful campaign with a 5-7 stinker.
Consistency is the key now.
Expectations are rising. Only time will tell if Coach Edsall can deliver.