Pasqualoni conference call quotes

Former UConn head football coach Paul Pasqualoni spoke with the media for the last time Monday night in a conference call to discuss his firing by athletic director Warde Manuel. Here’s what the coach had to say …

(Any inkling this was going to happen?)
“No, I didn’t, not really. I mean, you always think as a coach there’s a chance things can happen but I did not necessarily anticipate it, no.”

(What’s next?)
“Well, my next move is to be around my family and my kids and just enjoy my family.”

(Not going to look for a coaching job?)
“I mean, you have to kind of in this business wait and see what happens. I’m not the kind of guy that’s going out to look for jobs or apply for jobs. The next job has just kind of always came. It’s the middle of the season as we all know … not even the middle of the season, almost the mid-point of the season so we’ll see what happens as we move through the fall.”

(What did to say to the team?)
“Well, I just told them that I enjoyed very, very much the opportunity to coach them. I really, really appreciated their commitment to the program and the commitment to doing things the right way, in the classroom, off the field, on the field and the tremendous effort that they’ve given to the program. We had some really good Saturday’s together, we didn’t have enough good Saturday’s but that does not diminish the enjoyment and the pleasure I had of being with them.”

(What do you think the (firing) issues were here?)
“I think that the kids were fine. I think this year, I would say when you look at the teams we’ve played, regardless of what conference they’re in or Towson being a I-AA program, we faced some very good teams this year. And we just on, the four Saturday’s we had, we’re just not able to play well enough or be good enough on those four Saturday’s against some very, very good teams. I thought the kids gave effort, I thought we tried, we made some critical errors, we turned the ball over or made a mistake that really cost us and I think that’s what happened this year.”

(Disappointed that you couldn’t finish the season?)
“I would have loved the opportunity to try and get over the hump. I think that we were looking forward to having a great plan for the South Florida game. We were going to make a few changes and try to get this thing back on the road. Get some players that been hurt back and healthy and get ready for the conference season, so I sure would have loved the opportunity to take a good shot at the rest of the season and try to get the thing going in the right direction but it didn’t work out that way.”

(What did you say to George (DeLeone) about the decision?)
“George is a UConn alum. He loves the place. He’s a Connecticut guy. The high school coaches in the state of Connecticut, there’s no one in football that has more respect for George. George is a great team guy. He’s a great coach. We made the decision to bring T.J. in and all George said was ‘All I want to do is help the program succeed and help UConn be a great team.’ So, George is a great professional and an outstanding football coach and a great guy.”

(Any additional disappointment because you came from Connecticut?)
“I didn’t come back here to not have success. I’m used to having success in football. So, for me, it’s disappointing for me that I wasn’t able to collect the number of wins that I needed to collect but that the same time, I feel good about the kids that I brought in. We brought in two recruiting classes, I really like the groups we brought in. I think we’ll see that Timmy Boyle will turn out to be a very good quarterback and Kivon Taylor will be there competing as the years goes by. I like the young group of kids, I love the young wide receivers that we’ve brought in, so I feel good about what we’ve done, trying to do it right way, kids are doing well in school, we don’t have a lot of issues off the field, so I just wish we could have had a few more wins.”

(What did Warde tell you and did you try and talk him out of it?)
“Warde just said that I would be the first to know when he decided to make a change and he decided to make a change. That was about the extent of the conversation.”

(You’re standing tall by talking with us. Does that professionalism just come from being in the business so long?)
“I’ve been very, very fortunate in football. I want to thank Jeff Hathaway for giving me the opportunity and giving me a chance to come back to Connecticut, be at the University of Connecticut. I’ve always had a high regard for UConn. I’m a Connecticut guy. There’s nobody’s that’s been involved with football in Connecticut longer than I have, actively coaching. I loved the high school coaches, I believe in Connecticut football and wanted to create an atmosphere at UConn where the Connecticut high school coaches knew that we were going to take their kids and take care of them. That they were going to have a chance to develop into great players, great students and great young men. Growing up, I always looked at UConn as a place where Connecticut kids could go and become great. That was exciting for me. That was the reason I came back here, to be a part of Connecticut again, to be with the high school coaches and be part of great football in the state of Connecticut. Play teams like Michigan. Play teams like Tennessee in Connecticut. Years back, when I was a kid, nobody would have ever dreamed that.”

(What do you think your emotions will be if you’re at home and a UConn game comes on TV?)
“I hope they do well. I hope that, South Florida, I told them before I left to get ready to play. South Florida’s got good players, you can beat them and the coaches have got a great plan. I thought we came up with a great plan last week for the next two weeks. As I said, we were going to make a few changes and just go 100 miles an hour with it, get the season going, win this game and take them one at a time. So, I’ll be rooting for those guys, I’ll be rooting for the coaches and I’ll be rooting for the kids.”

(When you took the job, Jeff Hathaway was the AD and there was an interim president. That’s all changed. Do you feel you had the 100 percent backing of the new administration?)
“I think the administration has been supportive of me. I would concur that the people that are there now are not the people that hired me, more or less. But Susan Herbst, I don’t know if Susan approved it or whatever but she was always supportive … and just things change, in this business nothing stays the same.”

(Would you go back to the NFL, want to stay in college?)
“I love football. I may go down to Rye Park and coach the South Windsor eighth grade team, I don’t know. I don’t know if they need a coach, but … I’m going to see what opportunities develop and I’ve got football in my blood. I love it. We’ll just kind of see what happens.”

(Thoughts on T.J. and the staff and what they can try and do over the rest of the season?)
“I wish them the very best. They’re great guys. We worked hard. This is not from a lack of effort, I promise you. I think the defensive staff will continue to work hard and the offensive … T.J. will do the best he can do and we’ve got to get another coach in there, they’re short-handed, he needs coaches to recruit, coaches to coach and I told him when I left if I could help him, I’m down the street, give me a call.”

(What are you going to do now?)
“I don’t know. It’ll be a little different. This will be the first football weekend probably since I was in high school that I’m not either playing or worrying or planning about a football game. Probably since 1964, that’s a long time ago. So, it’ll be different.”

(Do you feel you left this program better than when you came here?)
“I feel great about the program right now. We’ve got excellent young quarterbacks. We’ve got excellent young skill guys. Thomas Lucas is going to be a good wide receiver. Noel Thomas is going to be terrific. Dhameer Bradley is going to be very, very good. No question, Brian Lemelle is going to be good, Josh Marriner is going to be a heck of a back. Quinn Thompson is going to be a heck of a tight end. Tommy Myers is going to be a good tight end. Cole Ormsby is going to be a very, very good defensive linebacker, defensive end. Obi Melifonwu is going to be a great safety, Jhavon Williams is going to be a heck of a corner when he gets a little more experience. I think for the next staff and for T.J., and those guys I think there’s some very good young talent. I just think that everybody got to be a patient and let these kids grow up a little bit. We’re playing with a lot of young kids.”

(Deciding on whether or not to play Boyle this season?)
“We had made the decision last week that would be the direction to go in. That, we tried to be fair about everything there, try to give Timmy some time to develop, give him an opportunity to be on the road and experience the whole thing and get as much practice in under his belt before we threw him in there. It’s not just a matter of throwing a young guy in there, you’ve got to give him the chance to make the transition and have an idea what’s going on. So, I think that that would probably be the way T.J. goes, that was something that we were going to do.”