|Connecticut Huskies football|
|Athletic director||Paul Pendergast|
|Head coach||Paul Pasqualoni|
|Home stadium||Rentschler Field|
|Location||East Hartford, Connecticut|
|League||NCAA Division I|
|Conference||Big East (2004–Present)|
|Past conferences||Independent |
New England Conference
|Postseason bowl record||3–2|
|Colors||National Flag Blue and White|
|Fight song||UConn Husky|
|Marching band||The Pride of Connecticut|
|Rivals||Rutgers Scarlet Knights|
The Connecticut Huskies football team is a collegiate football team that competes in NCAA Division I-A and the Big East Conference. 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. They began play in the Big East in 2004.
- 1 History
- 2 Facilities
- 3 Coaching history
- 4 Notable alumni
- 5 Brian Kozlowski Award
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
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 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 rival Rhode Island, an opponent that would be played over 100 times.
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. The college would honor Dow by naming the athletic fields after him. These fields would become the home for most of the schools athletic teams for the next three decades.
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. 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. The UConn Club memorializes O'Neill with a yearly award given to a former student-athlete who has had a successful professional career.
Transition to Division I-A
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. They would receive a special waiver from the NCAA in order to play in Memorial Stadium while Rentschler Field was under construction.
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.
Big East play
Connecticut was originally scheduled to join the Big East as a football member in 2005. However, following the defection of Miami and Virginia Tech after the 2003 season, the Huskies entrance into the Big East was expedited by one year.
The Huskies played their first Big East conference game on September 17, 2004 when they dropped a 27-7 decision at 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 7-4 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 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". 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 will honor 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, an honor which requires a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 in a minimum of two semesters
Division I-AA playoffs
|November 28, 1998||Hampton||W 42-34|
|December 5, 1998||Georgia Southern||L 52-30|
|#||Number of bowl games|
|‡||Former attendance record|
- Attendance records are correct as of the end of the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football season.
|1||2004||SMS Motor City Bowl2004 Motor City Bowl||W 39–10||Toledo Rockets||Ford Field||Detroit, MI||52,552‡|
|2||2007||SMS Meineke Care Care Bowl2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl||L 24–10||Wake Forest Demon Deacons||Bank of America Stadium||Charlotte, NC||53,126|
|3||2008||SMS International Bowl2009 International Bowl||W 38–20||Buffalo Bulls||Rogers Centre||Toronto, ON, Canada||40,184†|
|4||2009||SMS PapaJohns.com Bowl2010 PapaJohns.com Bowl||W 20–7||South Carolina Gamecocks||Legion Field||Birmingham, AL||45,254†|
|5||2010||SMS Fiesta Bowl2011 Fiesta Bowl||L 48–20||Oklahoma Sooners||University of Phoenix Stadium||Glendale, AZ||67,232|
Connecticut has won a total of 17 conference championships, which includes 6 outright titles.
- 1897-1922: Athletic League of New England State Colleges
- 1923-1946: New England Conference
- 1947-1996: Yankee Conference
- 1997-1999: Atlantic 10 Conference
- 2000-2003: Division I-A Independent
- 2004-Current: Big East 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|
|† Denotes co-champions, § Denotes New England Division champion|
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
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. However, it was later decided to construct the building across the street.
Mark R. Shenkman Training Center
Alongside the Burton Family Football Complex is the 85,000-square-foot (7,897 m2) Mark R. Shenkman Training Center. The indoor training center includes a full-length football field and an 18,000-square-foot (1,672 m2) strength and conditioning center. The training center was made possible by a USD 2.5 million gift from Connecticut businessman and UConn alum, Mark Shenkman.
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."
|1906–07||George H. Lamson||13||4||9||0||.308|
|1915–16||John F. Donahue||16||2||14||0||.125|
|1919||Roy J. Guyer||8||2||6||0||.250|
|1923–33||Sumner A. Dole||89||36||39||14||.483|
|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|
|1999–2010||Randy Edsall (record)||144||74||70||0||.514|
Current NFL players
- Deon Anderson - Fullback, Miami Dolphins
- William Beatty - Offensive tackle, New York Giants
- Tyvon Branch - Safety, Oakland Raiders
- Cody Brown - Linebacker, New York Jets
- Donald Brown - Running back, Indianapolis Colts
- Darius Butler - Cornerback, New England Patriots
- Marcus Easley - Wide receiver, Buffalo Bills
- Greg Lloyd, Jr. - Linebacker, Philadelphia Eagles
- Scott Lutrus- Linebacker, Indianapolis Colts
- Robert McClain - Cornerback, Carolina Panthers
- Dan Orlovsky - Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts
- Anthony Sherman - Fullback, Arizona Cardinals
- Larry Taylor - Wide receiver, New York Jets
- Jordan Todman, - Running back, Minnesota Vikings
- Lawrence Wilson, Linebacker, Tennessee Titans
- Martin Bedard - Current fullback with the Montreal Alouettes Drafted 2nd Round, 14th Pick in the CFL Draft in 2009.
- Terry Caulley - Current running back for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL
- Scott Cowen - Current President of Tulane University
- John Dorsey - Current Director of College Scouting for the Green Bay Packers
- Kirk Ferentz - Current Iowa Hawkeyes head football coach
- Danny Lansanah - Former linebacker, Green Bay Packers
- Brian Kozlowski - Former NFL tight end with the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins
- Shane Stafford - Former quarterback for the Orlando Predators in the Arena Football League
Brian Kozlowski Award
The Brian Kozlowski Award was first awarded in 1998. It honors the former UConn Husky and current Washington Redskins tight end, Brian Kozlowski, who through hard work, effort and dedication has been able to have a lengthy NFL career.
|2006||Matt Applebaum/Matt Nuzie|
- UConn–UMass football rivalry
- University of Connecticut
- Connecticut Huskies
- University of Connecticut Marching Band
- Roy, Mark (September 27, 2004). "Football Player Gardner Dow Remembered, 85 Years Later". University of Connecticut Advance. http://advance.uconn.edu/2004/040927/040927hs.htm. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- Roy, Mark (December 12, 2004). "1924 A Memorable Year For Connecticut Football Team". UConn Advance. http://advance.uconn.edu/2004/041213/041213hs.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-13.
- Devine, Betsy; Muncy, Kyle; Clendenen, Alissa et al., eds. (2008). 2008 Connecticut Huskies Football Media Guide. Storrs, CT: UConn Division of Athletics. p. 137. http://www.uconnhuskies.com/datadump/MFootball/2009/Media%20Guide/2/Burton.pdf.
- Cavanaugh, Jack (October 30, 1994). "Should UConn Football Go Big Time?". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/30/nyregion/should-uconn-football-go-big-time.html. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Cavanaugh, Jack (October 26, 1997). "Will Huskies Embrace Big Time Football?". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1997/10/26/nyregion/will-huskies-embrace-big-time-football.html. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- "Governor and trustees endorse football upgrade to Division 1-A". University of Connecticut Advance. October 20, 1997. http://advance.uconn.edu/1997/971020/10209702.htm.
- Rabinovitz, Jonathan (November 19, 1997). "UConn Sees Support Faltering For a New Football Stadium". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1997/11/19/nyregion/uconn-sees-support-faltering-for-a-new-football-stadium.html. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Dicker, Ron (October 2, 1998). "COLLEGE: FOOTBALL – NOTEBOOK". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/02/sports/college-football-notebook.html. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- "PLUS: COLLEGE FOOTBALL -- CONNECTICUT; Huskies Apply To the Big East". New York Times. January 14, 1999. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/01/14/sports/plus-college-football-connecticut-huskies-apply-to-the-big-east.html. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Garber, Greg (December 14, 2001). "UConn knows what all the hoopla is about". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=1294905&type=story. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- "UConn to join Big East early; no other schools 'til 2005-06". SI.com. July 10, 2003. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/college/news/2003/07/10/uconn_bigeast_ap/. Retrieved April 17, 2009.
- "Connecticut vs. Notre Dame recap". Sports Illustrated. 2009-11-21. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/ncaa/gameflash/2009/11/21/40786_recap.html. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
- "Sixteen Huskies Named To BIG EAST All-Academic Football Team". University of Connecticut. 2010-02-02. http://www.uconnhuskies.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/020210aad.html. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
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- Devine, Betsy; Muncy, Kyle; Clendenen, Alissa et al., eds. (2008). 2008 Connecticut Huskies Football Media Guide. Storrs, CT: UConn Division of Athletics. pp. 6–7. http://www.uconnhuskies.com/datadump/MFootball/2009/Media%20Guide/2/Burton.pdf.
- Roy, Mark (May 13, 2002). "Burton Makes a Gift of $2.5 Million for Football Complex". University of Connecticut Advance. http://advance.uconn.edu/2002/020513/02051301.htm. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
- Devine, Betsy; Muncy, Kyle; Clendenen, Alissa et al., eds. (2008). 2008 Connecticut Huskies Football Media Guide. Storrs, CT: UConn Division of Athletics. pp. 8–9. http://www.uconnhuskies.com/datadump/MFootball/2009/Media%20Guide/2/Shenkman.pdf.
- "Gift From Alumnus Will Fund Indoor Training Center". University of Connecticut Advance. August 30, 2004. http://advance.uconn.edu/2004/040830/04083011.htm. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
- Grava, Karen (September 17, 2007). "University’s new football facilities earn silver rating for environmental measures". University of Connecticut Advance. http://advance.uconn.edu/2007/070917/07091703.htm.
- UConn 2011 schedule
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