It was going to happen sooner or later, so Warde Manuel opted to do it now.
I’ve always liked the relationship analogy: If you’re dating someone, and you don’t see a future, then why prolong the break-up? You’re merely wasting your time.
You know what? UConn wasted precious football time. Paul Pasqualoni has set back a once promising football program. And this season, now at 0-4, can only be salvaged to the point of mediocrity.
After the disastrous loss to Towson, after that humiliation at Buffalo, it was clear that Paul Pasqualoni wasn’t the right guy to lead UConn into the future. But wasn’t it clear before that, too? Did this move really have to wait until midseason 2013?
Look, I’ve been hard on Pasqualoni these past few years, and I don’t mean to disrespect his work ethic or passion for the game. The guy has had a very nice career. I’m sure he worked his fannie off (as he would say) since he got to UConn. But, after two straight 5-7 years, no one honestly evaluating the situation could have said, “Yeah, Paul Pasqualoni is the right guy to take the program to new heights.”
Conference realignment is changing the future of college athletics. Football appears to be the driving force behind the shuffling, and the Huskies’ lackluster program has made it less appealing to the major conferences. There are only two ways to markedly improve: Join a power conference (which is difficult to do with a so-so football team) or find a dynamite coach who can overcome weak league affiliation.
Paul Pasqualoni wasn’t that guy. We knew that last December.
There were reasons for giving him a third year — stability in recruiting, cost of buyout, etc. — but this was always destined to be a short-term thing. What if he went 7-5 this year? Would that have made him “the guy”? Doubt it. So wasn’t this just wasted time with a lame duck coach?
Anyway, Warde Manuel now has a few extra months to tab “the guy.” Last fall, the right guy for the basketball program essentially fell into Manuel’s lap. That won’t be the case this time.
This will be, without a shade of doubt, the biggest hire in Manuel’s career.