Maryland's Randy Edsall Faces Former Team
By Chris Garman
Two years ago, Randy Edsall was the head football coach at the University of Connecticut and scheduled a game against the University of Maryland for the 2012 season. Now, Edsall is preparing to face his former Huskies team as the head coach of the Terps.
Edsall was the Huskies' coach from 1999-2010, and helped the program transition from a Football Championship Subdivision team to a Football Bowl Subdivision team. During the 2007 and 2011 seasons, he led the team to Big East championships, and during the latter campaign, the Huskies made their first BCS bowl appearance when they faced Oklahoma during the Fiesta Bowl.
When Edsall departed for the Atlantic Coast Conference, he left as the school's all-time leader in wins. His success in building a program is something he brought to Maryland.
"Whenever you're involved with building a program, you have to be who you are and you have to stick to a philosophy, a philosophy in terms of what you want to do and how you want to do it," Edsall said. "Then you implement it to be successful in what I consider all three phases of a program: academics, football and developing maturity as a person."
But leaving behind a team that was built into a nationally recognized program is something that can be difficult. Edsall expressed admiration for his former program on Tuesday.
"Connecticut, the state of Connecticut and the University of Connecticut, is a really special place for me and my family," Edsall said. "I'll always be indebted to the people from the state of Connecticut and the people of the University and most especially Lew [Perkins] and Phil [Austin] for the opportunity that they gave me."
After leaving Connecticut, Edsall had to walk away from several players he had helped recruit and develop. He will face several of them during Saturday's game.
"If I had a do-over, and this is something I have to live with, I wish I could have talked to those players in person," Edsall said. "But the circumstances in our profession is one that didn't allow that. As I said, that's something that I have to live with."
Because of NCAA rules, Edsall is not allowed to contact the Connecticut players and explain his reasons for leaving. But he said he did have plans to speak with them in the future.
"Once they graduate, I'll talk to them, but as far as the current players go, you really can't have a relationship with them," Edsall said.
Currently, Edsall is focused on his present players and this Saturday's game. The Terps are 2-0 this season and showed drastic improvements during last Saturday's 36-27 victory against Temple, especially on the offensive end.
"This week is really no different to me than any other week," Edsall said. "It's just game three on our schedule. There are some people that I'd like to see after the game to say hello to and wish them well, but I am going to continue to focus on my players, the University of Maryland players, all week."
Regardless of the outcome Saturday, Edsall said, his feelings about his decision to coach at Maryland will not be affected.
"Everyone has their reasons for doing what they want to do in life," Edsall said, "and to me, this is the third game on the schedule, and it just happens to be against Connecticut.
"They are from the Big East, so this one is going to count just as much as the William & Mary game and the Temple game. That is what all of the focus and attention is on: to just get another win."
Follow Chris on Twitter: @Garmelo10.
Posted Sept. 13, 2012