UConn's coaching search continues

Now more than a week in, Connecticut's search for a new head coach is at full bore. Here's a look at the latest reports and rumors we're hearing.

Penn State Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley reportedly met with UConn AD Jeff Hathaway on Sunday in Dallas, where both were present for the American Football Coaches Association convention.

Bradley obviously comes from a program steeped in tradition and would bring his excellent north east recruiting ties with him. However, with Bradley being a defensive guy, and it being rumored that he'll be bringing some defensive assistants with him wherever he lands, one has to wonder what that would mean for current UConn defensive assistants Hank Hughes, Todd Orlando and Darrell Perkins.

Bradley was in the mix for the Pitt job, however, Pitt AD Steve Pederson favored Tulsa Head Coach Todd Graham, and it now appears that Graham and Pitt have agreed to terms.

Former UMass Head Coach Mark Whipple, who led the minutemen to a FCS National Championship in 1998, reportedly interviewed last Thursday. Whipple spent the last two years as the Miami (FL) offensive coordinator.

Whipple has been open about his desire to be the next head coach of Huskies, telling the Courant's Desmond Conner he was "very interested", and praising the stadium and facilities. His candidacy makes plenty of sense. He too has strong north east recruiting ties, and having worked in Florida the last two seasons, he can also help the Huskies make inroads in the Sunshine State. UConn's lead Florida recruiter Terry Richardson has left for the University of Miami, so it's something that needs to be addressed.

Delaware Head Coach K.C. Keeler, whose team lost a heartbreaker Friday night to Eastern Washington in the FCS National Championship game, was said to be under strong consideration, however, Keeler apparently removed his name from the search on Sunday. Speaking through his agent Gary O'Hagan, Keeler said he was "flattered" but that he was "very happy at Delaware".

Former Syracuse University Head Coach, and Cheshire, CT native Paul Pasqualoni is also being considered. Pasqualoni amassed a 107-59-1 record at Syracuse, and appeared in nine bowls in 14 seasons, including two Fiesta Bowls and an Orange Bowl. Most recently he has been working as the Defensive Coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys.

Pasqualoni has strong recruiting ties up and down the East Coast and especially in the North East. He was responsible for bringing Bloomfield's Dwight Freeney and New Britain's Tebucky Jones to Syracuse, and had Rutgers star Ray Rice committed to the Orange before he was fired following the 2004 season. The Connecticut High School Coaches Association sent a letter to UConn Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway endorsing Pasqualoni for the job.

A new name surfaced on Saturday and it's an intriguing one. Garrick McGee is the 37 year old Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach at the University of Arkansas. He is regarded as a rising star in the coaching ranks, as well as one of the top recruiters in the nation. Prior to joining the Arkansas staff he served as the offensive coordinator at Northwestern, and was also an offensive assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars and at the University of Toledo. McGee, who played quarterback at Oklahoma University, runs the spread offense.

In 2007, McGee's final year on the Northwestern staff, the Wildcats had the Big Ten's top ranked passing attack with 307.9 yards per game, which was good for 11th nationally. Their 427.7 yards per game was also tops in the Big Ten, and ranked 31st nationally. This season Arkansas ranks ninth nationally in total yards per game with 482.5, fourth in passing yards with 345.8, and 15th in points with 36.9 per game.

Interim Head Coach Hank Hughes continues to openly lobby for the position, and has been endorsed by the remaining staff members. A positive about McGee's candidacy is that if he were to be the choice, many of the staff, particularly on the defensive side, could be retained.


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