Head coach Paul Pasqualoni was forcibly ousted* from Storrs, Connecticut this morning after the Huskies’ embarrassing 41-12 defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bulls last Saturday. His firing was inevitable although I never expected he would be let go before the end of the season. But UConn wanted to cut him loose and start fresh by making a change one-third of the way through their already disappointing season.
*I’m picturing Pasqualoni being dragged out of a bathroom with his pants around his ankles and a “Where’s Waldo” book in his lap, here.
Obviously this is relevant for Bearcats fans because they have the Huskies coming up on their schedule in a couple of weeks. Typically it’s easier facing a team without an established head coach than one who has been with the program for a while, regardless how inept he may be. So Cincinnati’s chances of taking down UConn in three Saturdays just went up.
But what really intrigues me about this news is that former UC wide receiver coach TJ Weist looks to be the guy to take over Pasqualoni’s old gig for the remainder of this season.
TJ Weist to become interim #UConn head coach
— Patrick Eaton-Robb (@peatonrobb) September 30, 2013
I’ve always been a fan of TJ Weist. He was one of the better position coaches while with the Bearcats, as evidenced by Kenbrell Thompkins rising from an undrafted free agent to Tom Brady’s #1 wide receiver in New England this year. On the recruiting trail Weist was also responsible for helping Cincinnati carve out a presence in the fertile recruiting grounds of Georgia and Florida. Plus, when he was given the opportunity to lead an offense of his own in the Belk Bowl, the Bearcats rolled up 554 yards of total offense and scored 48 points against the Duke Blue Devils.
But, when Butch Jones accepted the Tennessee job, he opted to leave Weist behind in Cincinnati and I’ve always thought he got the short end of the stick in that situation. But some good came out of it. He was able to land on his feet in a big way, getting hired as offensive coordinator at UConn, a promotion of sorts. By now you probably know that fixing the Husky offense is easier said than done but at least Weist was working his way up the coaching ladder.
Unfortunately, after the first game of the season against Towson in which UConn was systematically dismantled 33-18, Pasqualoni’s days seemed numbered and Weist gone with him without having the time to clean up the mess in Storrs. Fixing the Huskies offense is a multi-year project and it looked like Weist would be let go along with his head coach. Now, though, he will finally be able to continue the rebuilding job as interim head coach. It remains to be seen if that will translate into a full-time role with Connecticut or if he’ll be picked up as a coordinator or head coach elsewhere, but if Weist can continue to make progress with the Husky offense it will only improve his job prospects in the coming months.