Oct 01, 2013 09:40 AM EDT
UConn AD Sacks Head Football Coach
Due to poor performances of the football team, University of Connecticut Director of Athletics Warde Manuel has fired head coach Paul Pasqualoni Monday morning. Plus, associate head football coach and offensive line head coach George DeLeone has also been removed from duties.
According to the university, Pasqualoni began his tenure in UConn in 2011 and leaves with a 10-18 record.
"I am making this change in our football coaching staff now as we approach the conference season to see an improved performance from our football program," said Manuel in an official statement. "I am disappointed in the record of our team thus far, but I am confident that our coaching staff and student-athletes will continue to work hard to improve and that will be reflected on the field of play as we start our American Athletic Conference season."
The university officials said that it will pay Pasqualoni $750,000 to buy out his contract, ESPN reports.
"A decision has been made and it's now time to move on to a stronger future that starts today," said University President Susan Herbst in the official statement. "What cannot be lost here is how incredibly proud we are of our student-athletes. They are outstanding young men in the midst of a very tough season. Being a Division I athlete and a student is an enormous challenge, and we know how hard they are working and how deeply they care about succeeding for their university."
Cornerback Byron Jones said players were surprised to hear Pasqualoni's dismissal.
"No one is quitting," Jones told ESPN. "All of our goals are still attainable. It's very important that we collectively get together and turn things around. We really have no other choice."
"What this team needs now as much as anything is the support of Husky fans everywhere. As we saw at our last home game, the amazing energy and highly charged spirit of our fans breathes life into this team and that must continue and be repeated again and again," Herbst said. "There is no substitute."
At UConn, Pasqualoni was serving his 43rd year as a coach. He now hopes to find a new football coaching job.
"I love football," Pasqualoni told ESPN. "I may go down to Rye Park and coach the South Windsor eighth-grade team. I don't know if they need a coach. I've got football in my blood."
Offensive coordinator T.J. Weist, has been name the interim head coach for the rest of the season.
"I definitely think I'm prepared for this, and I'm ready for it," Weist told ESPN. "And I want it."
"I am very pleased to elevate T.J. to our interim head coaching position," said Manuel. "T.J. will bring energy and enthusiasm to our football team as we embark on our American Athletic Conference schedule. T.J. will provide stability to our football student-athletes during this time of transition, and will also effectively oversee all elements of our football program, including game preparation, classroom success, and recruiting."
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