Pasqualoni fired at UConn after 0-4 start

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 30, 2013 at 7:46 pm •  Published: September 30, 2013
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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut athletic director Warde Manuel says he's looking for football coach who can bring more excitement, passion, and above all wins to UConn.

Manuel fired coach Paul Pasqualoni on Monday, with his team 0-4 and coming off a 41-12 loss at Buffalo.

Pasqualoni, in his third season at UConn, finishes with a 10-18 record. Associate head coach George DeLeone, who coached the offensive line, also was let go.

"I'm changing now because we have to have different leadership to get different results," Manuel said. "I'm not comfortable with losing."

The school said it will pay Pasqualoni $750,000 to buy out his contract.

The Huskies are off this week before hosting South Florida on Oct. 12.

Offensive coordinator T.J. Weist, whose energetic style is a contrast to the more reserved Pasqualoni, will take over as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

The 48-year-old Weist, who played at Alabama, came to Connecticut in the offseason from Cincinnati, where he coached wide receivers.

Weist also has worked at his alma mater, Michigan, Southern Illinois, Tulsa and Western Kentucky.

At UConn, he's overseen an offense that ranks last in the bowl subdivision in rushing, and 119th out of 123 teams in total offense.

Weist said the team is taking the approach that it is starting at 0-0 entering conference play.

"I definitely think I'm prepared for this, and I'm ready for it," Weist said. "And I want it."

Manuel said Weist would have to show he can win to have "any shot" at becoming the team's permanent coach.

Manuel said he will not be contacting active coaches at other programs about the job until after the season. He said the school will be fiscally responsible in hiring a new coach, but will not take a step back when it comes to being competitive in paying its coach. Pasqualoni was to make $1.6 million this year.

The 64-year-old Connecticut native took over the football team at its height. UConn had appeared in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, losing 48-20 to Oklahoma. But the Huskies finished 5-7 in consecutive years, and calls for Pasqualoni's job started mounting after the team opened the season with a loss to Towson.

UConn then fell to Maryland and Randy Edsall, the coach whom Pasqualoni replaced. The team was competitive in a 24-21 home loss to Michigan, in front of a record-setting crowd at Rentschler Field, before being blown out at Buffalo.

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