Connecticut Huskies football

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UConn Huskies
2014 Connecticut Huskies football team
Uconn Huskies logo2013.png
First season 1896; 118 years ago
Athletic director Warde Manuel
Head coach Bob Diaco
1st year, 2–9 (.182)
Other staff Mike Cummings (OC)
Anthony Poindexter (DC)
Home stadium Rentschler Field
Year built 2003
Stadium capacity 40,000
Stadium surface Grass
Location East Hartford, Connecticut
League NCAA Division I
Conference The American
Past conferences Big East Conference
Atlantic Ten
Yankee Conference
New England Conference
Athletic League of New England State Colleges
All-time record 494–526–39 (.485)
Postseason bowl record 3–2 (.600)
Conference titles 26
Fight song UConn Husky
Mascot Jonathan
Marching band The Pride of Connecticut
Rivals Louisville Cardinals
UMass Minutemen
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Syracuse Orange

The Connecticut Huskies football team is a collegiate football team that competes in NCAA Division I FBS and the American Athletic Conference (The American). Connecticut first fielded a team in 1896, and participated in Division I-AA until 1999. The Huskies began their two-year Division I-A transition period in 2000, and became a full-fledged Division I-A team in 2002. From 2000 to 2003 the team played as an independent. The schools football team then joined the conference of its other sport teams, the Big East (later named the American Athletic Conference in 2013), starting in 2004.


Early years[edit]

The University of Connecticut began playing football in 1896 when the school was known as Storrs Agricultural College, and the team was known as the "Aggies." It teamed up with the University of Massachusetts Amherst and University of Rhode Island to form the Athletic League of New England State Colleges for the purpose of scheduling football matchups between the schools. The first year was spent playing against local high schools and YMCA clubs. The following year provided their first competition against future rivals Rhode Island, an opponent that would be played over 100 times, and Massachusetts. Other early rivals included the Ivy League and the "Little Ivies", particularly Yale University starting in 1948, who have played the Huskies for 50 years.

Tragedy struck the team on September 27, 1919 when Gardner Dow died from brain injuries related to a flying tackle that he delivered in a game against New Hampshire.[1] The college would honor Dow by naming the athletic fields after him. These fields would become the home for most of the school's athletic teams for the next three decades.

The football team plays on Gardner Dow Athletic Fields in 1920.

In 1924, the Aggies celebrated their first undefeated season when they finished with six wins, no losses and two ties. The defense was the strength of the team, as they allowed a meager thirteen points to be scored against them over the entire season, including a total of three points over the final seven games.[2] The team was proclaimed by the New York Times to be among the best in the country, and was led by the school's first All-America candidate in captain, Martin "Red" O'Neill.[3] The UConn Club memorializes O'Neill with a yearly award given to a former student-athlete who has had a successful professional career.

Red O'Neill went on to become one of Connecticut's first players to play in the NFL. He played for the Hartford Blues in 1926, their only year in the NFL.[4] Another player is Art "Pop" Williams, winning a championship with the Providence Steam Roller in 1928 and also has the record for the most rushing career touchdowns in Providence's franchise history.[5] The Steam Roller are New England's first NFL champion.

The renamed Huskies went on to become long-time members of the Yankee Conference, winning 15 conference championships.

In 1983, Bill Belichick applied for the Huskies' head coaching position but was eventually turned down in favor of an internal hire, Tom Jackson.

Transition to Division I-A[edit]

Connecticut hired Lew Perkins as its athletic director in 1990. One of Perkins' first projects was to gather facts for a possible upgrade of the football program to Division I-A.[6] Perkins feared that if the university didn't upgrade the football program, that it ran the risk of falling behind other institutions that fielded both football and basketball teams at the highest level. However, UConn was in the middle of a budget deficit and many faculty feared that an upgrade of the football program would result in a loosening of academic standards.[6]

In 1997, the Big East Conference gave the University of Connecticut and Villanova University a December 31 deadline to decide if they were going to upgrade their respective football programs and join the Big East football conference.[7] Villanova, a private institution, declined the invitation. However, in October 1997, the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees overwhelmingly endorsed, by a vote of sixteen to one, the football team's plan to upgrade the program to Division I-A status.[8] Part of the plan would be to build a new stadium, as the current stadium, Memorial Stadium, fell well below the minimum occupancy level of 30,000, as set by the NCAA. Originally, the new stadium was to be built on campus.

UConn would be granted an attendance waiver by the NCAA in order to play its home games at Memorial Stadium in Storrs during the 2000-2002 seasons.

However, the enthusiasm toward the new stadium quickly faded as the estimated expenses rose, the idea of an on-campus stadium was tabled, and the upgrade of the program was put on hold by the Connecticut state legislature.[9] A year later, the stadium issue was rehashed during an attempt to bring the New England Patriots to Hartford, Connecticut. A proposed 70,000 seat, open-air stadium in downtown Hartford would also serve as the home of the Huskies football team.[10] The plans for this stadium also fell through and the Patriots announced that they would remain in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Eventually, a new site emerged across the Connecticut River in East Hartford, when Pratt and Whitney donated their land on the old Rentschler Airfield to the state for purposes of building a football stadium. UConn officially began the upgrade process in January, 1999 by applying to join the Big East football conference.[11] They would receive a special waiver from the NCAA in order to play in Memorial Stadium while Rentschler Field was under construction.[12]

The Huskies would spend the 2000 and 2001 as a transitional Division I-A program as they built their scholarship base to the maximum of 85. They recorded their first win over a Division I-A opponent on September 16, 2000, when they defeated Buffalo, 24-21. They would finish the 2000 season with a final record of 3–8. The 2001 season brought their first win over a BCS rival with a victory over Rutgers on September 29, by a score of 20–19. The growing pains continued, as they finished the season at 2–9.

The breakthrough came during the Huskies first year as a full-fledged member of Division I-A in 2002. Led by sophomore quarterback, Dan Orlovsky, they showed vast improvement over the previous two seasons, despite starting the season losing six of the first eight games. They closed Memorial Stadium in fashion by routing the last two opponents, Florida Atlantic and Kent State, by a combined score of 124–35. The 63 points scored against Kent State in the Memorial Stadium finale, was the most the Huskies ever scored in the 50 years of playing in the stadium. They concluded a successful season by defeating Navy, 38–0, and Iowa State, 37–20. The victory over Iowa State was the Huskies first win over a bowl-bound team.

The success continued in 2003, when Connecticut began play in Rentschler Field. They would finish the season with an overall record of 9–3. The final game of the season provided their first victory over an ACC opponent, when they defeated Wake Forest, 51–17. It was only the third time that a non-conference team had scored over 50 points in an ACC stadium. Despite the stellar record, the Huskies were not invited to play in a bowl game, largely due to their lack of conference affiliation.

The American Athletic Conference[edit]

Connecticut was originally scheduled to join the Big East as a football member in 2005. However, following the departure of Miami and Virginia Tech and Boston College, the Huskies entrance into the Big East was expedited by one year.[13]

The Huskies played their first Big East conference game on September 17, 2004 when they dropped a 27-7 decision at Boston College. In the entire history of UCONN football, they have never beaten Boston College. Their first Big East conference win came only 13 days later, when they defeated Pittsburgh 29-17. They completed their first season in the conference in 5th place with a record of 3-3. That year's overall record of 8-4 in an extremely weak Big East was enough to garner an invitation to the 2004 Motor City Bowl, the first Bowl invitation in the school's history.

The Huskies were hit hard by graduation and injuries in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. The 2007 season finished with the Huskies first ever Big East Conference football title, which they shared with West Virginia, and an invitation to the Meineke Car Care Bowl. The team was hit hard in 2009 with the on-campus murder of junior cornerback Jasper Howard after a fight at a wild party following their homecoming game. UConn struggled following his death, dropping their next three games and falling to 1-4 in-conference, but got a major win to break the streak at Notre Dame, a victory quoted by Coach Randy Edsall as being the program's "Best Win".[14] The game ball from that victory was sent to Howard's mother in Miami, FL, one of many tributes throughout the year for the fallen player. The team honored Howard prior to every game through the 2010 season, which would have been his senior year.

In addition to playing NCAA Division 1 football, the Huskies have shown pride in academics in the Big East with sixteen players being names to the Big East All-Academic Football Team in 2010,[15] an honor which requires a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 in a minimum of two semesters. This was directly in contrast with the UCONN basketball team which was placed on probation for poor academics.

Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame left the Big East with overall losing records against the Huskies. The conference's name changes in 2013 to the American Athletic Conference as a result of the non-FBS split that took place as part of the conference's triple breakup (three to the ACC, and non-FBS schools taking the conference name for their own conference).

Postseason appearances[edit]

Division I-AA playoffs[edit]

Date Opponent Result
November 28, 1998 Hampton W 42-34
December 5, 1998 Georgia Southern L 52-30

Bowl games[edit]

# Number of bowl games
Attendance record
Former attendance record
W Win
L Loss
Attendance records are correct as of the end of the 2013 NCAA Division I FBS football season.[16][17]
# Season Bowl game Result Opponent Stadium Location Attendance
1 2004 2004 Motor City Bowl W 39–10 Toledo Rockets Ford Field Detroit, MI 52,552
2 2007 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl L 24–10 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, NC 53,126
3 2008 2009 International Bowl W 38–20 Buffalo Bulls Rogers Centre Toronto, ON 40,184
4 2009 2010 Bowl W 20–7 South Carolina Gamecocks Legion Field Birmingham, AL 45,254
5 2010 2011 Fiesta Bowl L 48–20 Oklahoma Sooners University of Phoenix Stadium Glendale, AZ 67,232

Conference championships[edit]

Connecticut has won a total of 26 conference championships, which includes possibly 11 outright titles.

Conference affiliations:

NOTE: The American was known as the Big East from its first football season in 1991 until the conference split in 2013. For legal purposes, the team has played since 2004 in the same conference.

Year Conference Overall Record Conf. Record
1901 Athletic League of New England State Colleges 8-2 1-0
1924 New England Conference 6-0-2 4-0
1926 New England Conference 7-1 3-1
1928 New England Conference 4-2-3 2-0-2
1936 New England Conference 7-2 2-0
1937 New England Conference 6-2-1 2-0
1942 New England Conference 6-2 3-0
1945 New England Conference 7-1 2-0
1949† Yankee Conference 4-4-1 2-0
1952† Yankee Conference 5-3 3-1
1956 Yankee Conference 6-2-1 3-0-1
1957† Yankee Conference 5-4-1 3-0-1
1958 Yankee Conference 7-3 4-0
1959 Yankee Conference 6-3 4-0
1960† Yankee Conference 5-4 3-1
1968† Yankee Conference 4-6 4-1
1970 Yankee Conference 4-4-2 4-0-1
1971† Yankee Conference 5-3-1 4-1-1
1973 Yankee Conference 8-2-1 5-0-1
1982† Yankee Conference 5-6 3-2
1983† Yankee Conference 5-6 4-1
1986† Yankee Conference 8-3 5-2
1989† Yankee Conference 8-3 6-2
1998§ Atlantic Ten 10-3 6-2
2007† Big East 9-4 5-2
2010† Big East 8-5 5-2
† Denotes co-champions, § Denotes Atlantic Ten New England Division champions


Rentschler Field[edit]

Press box at Rentschler Field in 2008
Main article: Rentschler Field

The Huskies play their home football games at Rentschler Field, an off-campus facility located 20 miles (32 km) to the west of campus in East Hartford, Connecticut. The inaugural game took place on August 30, 2003 when Connecticut defeated the Indiana Hoosiers 34–10. Since the opening, Connecticut has enjoyed a decided home field advantage, posting a 38–12 record when playing at Rentschler. This includes a 12–4 record in games decided by a touchdown or less. In 2007, the Huskies completed their home season winning each of their seven home games, becoming only the second Big East team to compile a 7–0 home record.

Burton Family Football Complex[edit]

The Huskies on-campus home is at the Burton Family Football Complex on Stadium Road in Storrs, CT. It contains the coaches offices, team meeting rooms, video facilities, dining hall and student-athlete lounge. Construction began in the fall of 2004 and it officially opened in July 2006. The facilities are considered to be among the best in the country. The building is named after Robert Burton, who in 2002 made a donation of USD 2.5 million to the University of Connecticut. The original location of the building was to be where Memorial Stadium currently stands.[18] However, it was later decided to construct the building across the street.

Mark R. Shenkman Training Center[edit]

Alongside the Burton Family Football Complex is the 85,000-square-foot (7,900 m2) Mark R. Shenkman Training Center. The indoor training center includes a full-length football field and an 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) strength and conditioning center.[19] The training center was made possible by a USD 2.5 million gift from Connecticut businessman and UConn alum, Mark Shenkman.[20]
Construction of the Mark R. Shenkman Training Center and the Burton Family Football Complex were handled in tandem by HOK Sport + Venue + Event and JCJ Architecture. Upon completion in the summer of 2006, both buildings were granted a LEED silver designation. They are the first buildings on the University of Connecticut campus, and the first football facilities in the nation to be certified as a "green building."[21]

Coaching history[edit]

Years Coach Games W L T Pct.
1896–97 No Coach 15 10 5 0 .667
1898 E.S. Mansfield 3 0 3 0 .000
1899–1901 T.D. Knowles[22] 26 18 7 1 .712
1902–05 E.O. Smith 28 14 13 1 .538
1906–07 George H. Lamson 13 4 9 0 .308
1908 W.F. Madden 8 4 3 1 .562
1909 S.F.G. McLean 8 3 5 0 .375
1910 M.F. Claffey 7 1 5 1 .215
1911 Leo Hafford 5 0 5 0 .000
1912 A.J. Sharadin 6 3 3 0 .500
1913 P.T. Brady 8 5 3 0 .625
1914 Dave Warner 3 3 0 0 1.000
1915–16 John F. Donahue 16 2 14 0 .125
1919 Roy J. Guyer 8 2 6 0 .250
1920 Ross Swartz 8 1 6 1 .187
1921–22 J. Wilder Tasker 17 5 8 4 .412
1923–33 Sumner A. Dole 89 36 39 14 .483
1934–49 J.O. Christian 121 66 51 4 .562
1950–51 Arthur L. Valpey 16 7 9 0 .438
1952–63 D. Robert Ingalls 106 49 54 3 .477
1964–65 Richard E. Forzano 18 7 10 1 .417
1966–70 John L. Toner 47 20 24 3 .458
1971–72 Robert F. Casciola 18 9 8 1 .531
1973–76 Larry L. Naviaux 43 18 24 1 .430
1977–82 Walt Nadzak 65 24 39 2 .385
1983–93 Tom Jackson 119 62 57 0 .521
1994–98 Skip Holtz 57 34 23 0 .596
1999–2010[23] Randy Edsall (record) 144 74 70 0 .514
2011–2013[24] Paul Pasqualoni 28 10 18 0 .357
2013 T. J. Weist 8 3 5 0 .375
2014– Bob Diaco 12 2 10 0 .167
 1896–present  Totals  1059  494  526  39  .485

Notable alumni and personnel[edit]

Current NFL players[25][edit]

Player Position Team
William Beatty offensive tackle New York Giants
Tyvon Branch safety Oakland Raiders
Donald Brown running back San Diego Chargers
Darius Butler cornerback Indianapolis Colts
Marcus Easley wide receiver Buffalo Bills
Dwayne Gratz cornerback Jacksonville Jaguars
Ryan Griffin tight end Houston Texans
Danny Lansanah linebacker Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Scott Lutrus linebacker Indianapolis Colts
Robert McClain cornerback New England Patriots
Kashif Moore wide receiver Pittsburgh Steelers
Sio Moore linebacker Oakland Raiders
Dan Orlovsky quarterback Detroit Lions
Kendall Reyes defensive end San Diego Chargers
Anthony Sherman fullback Kansas City Chiefs
Yawin Smallwood linebacker Atlanta Falcons
Shamar Stephen defensive tackle Minnesota Vikings
Donald Thomas guard Indianapolis Colts
Jordan Todman running back Jacksonville Jaguars
Nick Williams wide receiver Washington Redskins
Trevardo Williams linebacker Houston Texans
Lawrence Wilson linebacker Chicago Bears
Blidi Wreh-Wilson cornerback Tennessee Titans

Former NFL players[26][27][edit]

Other alumni[edit]

Former personnel[edit]

Brian Kozlowski Award[edit]

The Brian Kozlowski Award was first awarded in 1998. It honors the former UConn Husky and former Washington Redskins tight end, Brian Kozlowski, who through hard work, effort and dedication has been able to have a lengthy NFL career.

Year Winner
1998 Dennis Callaghan
1999 Mike Burton
2000 Stephen Darby
2001 Jamie Lenkaitis
2002 Wes Timko
2003 Sean Mulcahy
2004 Ryan Krug
2005 Taurien Sowell
2006 Matt Applebaum/Matt Nuzie
2009 Robert McClain

Future non-conference opponents[edit]

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
vs Villanova vs Virginia vs Holy Cross at Boise State vs Illinois at Illinois
vs Army at UMass at Virginia at Indiana vs Indiana
at BYU vs Maine vs UMass
at Missouri vs Missouri


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roy, Mark (September 27, 2004). "Football Player Gardner Dow Remembered, 85 Years Later". University of Connecticut Advance. Retrieved May 3, 2009. 
  2. ^ Roy, Mark (December 12, 2004). "1924 A Memorable Year For Connecticut Football Team". UConn Advance. Retrieved 2009-06-13. 
  3. ^ Enright, Mike; Muncy, Kyle; Clendenen, Alissa; Press, Randy; Torbin, Leigh; Dunstan, LuAnn; Altieri, Kristen; Devine, Betsy, eds. (2008). 2008 Connecticut Huskies Football Media Guide. Storrs, CT: UConn Division of Athletics. p. 137. 
  4. ^ "Red O'Neill". Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Providence Steam Roller All Time Leaders". Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Cavanaugh, Jack (October 30, 1994). "Should UConn Football Go Big Time?". New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2009. 
  7. ^ Cavanaugh, Jack (October 26, 1997). "Will Huskies Embrace Big Time Football?". New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Governor and trustees endorse football upgrade to Division 1-A". University of Connecticut Advance. October 20, 1997. 
  9. ^ Rabinovitz, Jonathan (November 19, 1997). "UConn Sees Support Faltering For a New Football Stadium". New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2009. 
  10. ^ Dicker, Ron (October 2, 1998). "COLLEGE: FOOTBALL – NOTEBOOK". The New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2009. 
  11. ^ "PLUS: COLLEGE FOOTBALL -- CONNECTICUT; Huskies Apply To the Big East". New York Times. January 14, 1999. Retrieved April 19, 2009. 
  12. ^ Garber, Greg (December 14, 2001). "UConn knows what all the hoopla is about". Retrieved April 19, 2009. 
  13. ^ "UConn to join Big East early; no other schools 'til 2005-06". July 10, 2003. Retrieved April 17, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Connecticut vs. Notre Dame recap". Sports Illustrated. 2009-11-21. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  15. ^ "Sixteen Huskies Named To BIG EAST All-Academic Football Team". University of Connecticut. 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  16. ^ "Bowl/All-Star Game Records". National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Papa Johns Bowl : Bowl History". ESPN Internet Ventures. Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  18. ^ Roy, Mark (May 13, 2002). "Burton Makes a Gift of $2.5 Million for Football Complex". University of Connecticut Advance. Retrieved May 4, 2009. 
  19. ^ Enright, Mike; Muncy, Kyle; Clendenen, Alissa; Press, Randy; Torbin, Leigh; Dunstan, LuAnn; Altieri, Kristen; Devine, Betsy, eds. (2008). 2008 Connecticut Huskies Football Media Guide. Storrs, CT: UConn Division of Athletics. pp. 8–9. 
  20. ^ "Gift From Alumnus Will Fund Indoor Training Center". University of Connecticut Advance. August 30, 2004. Retrieved May 5, 2009. 
  21. ^ Grava, Karen (September 17, 2007). "University’s new football facilities earn silver rating for environmental measures". University of Connecticut Advance. 
  22. ^ "T D Knowles athletic career, photos, articles, and videos". Fanbase. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  23. ^ "Randy Edsall introduced, calls Maryland 'dream job' - ESPN". 2011-01-03. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  24. ^ UConn 2011 schedule
  25. ^ "UConn Players Currently in the NFL". 
  26. ^ "All-Time UConn Players in the NFL". 
  27. ^ "All-Time UConn Players in the NFL listed in 2006 media guide". 
  28. ^ "Ching Hammill". 
  29. ^ "Vic Radzievitch". 
  30. ^ "Pop Williams". 
  31. ^ "John Contoulis". 
  32. ^ "Bob Leahy". 
  33. ^ "Vince Clements". 
  34. ^ "Darrell Wilson". 
  35. ^ "Jim Merritts". 
  36. ^ "Glen Antrum". 
  37. ^ "Mark Didio". 
  38. ^ "Ryan Krug". 
  39. ^ "Zach Hurd". 
  40. ^ "Walt Trojanowski". 
  41. ^ "Scott Cowen elected as the present of the AAU". 
  42. ^ "Brian Jones, Missouri running backs coach". 
  43. ^ "DJ Hernandez, Iowa Hawkeyes graduate offensive assistant". 
  44. ^ "Connecticut Huskies future schedules". Retrieved 2012-02-10. 

External links[edit]