There's no place like Saturday...

January 3, 2011

College Football Report - Randy Edsall Latest to be Won and Done in Big East:

Imagine this: Wisconsin Head Coach Brett Bielema puts together an 11 win season, wins the Big Ten and earns the rights of a BCS Bowl, then following the regular season, he bolts for another Big Ten or SEC job opening. Seem a little off? It should.

For Big East coaches, it seems to be the norm. With the hiring of Connecticut Head Coach Randy Edsall, 74-70 in 12 seasons at Connecticut, as head coach at Maryland, Edsall (right), becomes the fifth Big East head coach since 2004 to win the conference, and then head to another job.

This season Edsall led Connecticut to its first ever BCS Bowl game, getting trounced by Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, and first ever outright Big East title. Monday, January 3, Edsall accepted the head coaching positon at Maryland.

Last season, moving on from the Big East, it was Brian Kelly of Cincinnati. Kelly headed to Notre Dame after leading the Bearcats to two straight Big East titles in 2008 and 2009.

In 2007 it was West Virginia Head Coach Rich Rodriguez slamming the door on the Big East, literally. Rodriguez moved on to Michigan after Big East titles in 2005 and 2007.

The year before Rodriguez’ move, it was Louisville Head Coach Bobby Patrino, who led the Cardinals to a 2006 Big East title and BCS showing. Patrino left for the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons, but we all know how that turned out. He's at Arkansas now.

Prior to Patrino’s ’06 title and Rodriguez’ 2005 title, Pittsburgh head coach Walt Harris led the Panthers to a share of the Big East title and BCS Bowl berth in 2004. Harris then left for Stanford following the Bowl loss.

Before them all, it wasn’t coaches who bolted from the Big East, it was entire teams, when Miami (FL), Virginia Tech and Boston College made their move to the ACC following 2003.

Both Kelly and Rodriguez took the long route to a new coaching gig, winning two Big East titles in their tenure, both took the biggest coaching steps of any of the following, though.

Edsall’s move to Maryland shouldn’t come as a real surprise to anyone. The 52 year old Edsall, who spent 12 years at Connecticut, flirted with nearly every coaching vacancy open this season. It was clear his patience in Connecticut was running thin and a more prominent head job was in need. Maryland may not seem like the best opening possible, compared to others that opened this year, but the Terp’s job is clearly a step up. The recruiting rich area of Maryland/DC is a major step up from Connecticut.

The University chose Edsall over past Texas Tech coach, Mike Leach. Leach would have come with baggage, but he also would have come with a dynamic and exciting offense, which new-age fans and viewers crave. They also would have filled the seats Maryland was so concerned about. Still, Edsall was the safe move.

It still raises the questions about the Big East, though. For a conference that is supposed to compete with some of the country’s best, it’s now lost five of its best coaches in six years. Throw in the firing of Jim Leavitt at South Florida last season and the step-down of Pitt’s Dave Wannstedt this year, and it gets a little hard to keep track of the coaches. Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano seems to be the lone man left standing. The head coach of the Scarlet Knights since 2001, Schiano has turned the Rutgers football program around but his best finishes have been tied for second in both 2006 and 2008. He may just be trying to follow the trend of winning it all in the Big East, before he makes his move.

This is supposed to be a BCS caliber conference, though, and the coaches who call it home seem to use it as a stepping stone to a larger position. Isn’t that what the MAC is for?

No comments:

All writing and views subject to © Drew P. Kochanny, All Rights Reserved. Photo's credited to rights owner.