Whipple seen as front-runner at UConn

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / January 13, 2011

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Former University of Massachusetts coach Mark Whipple has emerged as the front-runner to be named the next University of Connecticut football coach, according to sources at the school and in the Big East.

But those sources said no offer had been made as of yesterday.

Athletic director Jeff Hathaway is deciding between Whipple and former Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni, and once he makes his decision, he is expected to offer a five-year contract similar to the $1.5 million-per-year deal that former UConn coach Randy Edsall had.

The deal could be in place as soon as today.

Whipple was on the original list of candidates compiled by Hathaway when Edsall left for Maryland following the Huskies’ loss to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1.

Other names were in the forefront as well, but Hathaway consulted with several football contacts about Whipple’s qualifications, and by last weekend the choice had come down to Whipple and Pasqualoni, who most recently was interim defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys.

Whipple has had success almost everywhere he’s been, with his departure from Miami in November — when head coach Randy Shannon and the majority of his staff were fired — the only blemish, if you can call it that.

Before that, Whipple had a series of successful stops at the Division 1 (FBS) and 1-AA (FCS) levels, including six years at New Haven, four years at Brown, and six at UMass, where he won the 1998 national championship.

He also has experience in the NFL. He won a Super Bowl ring as quarterbacks coach in Pittsburgh (2004-06), where he helped develop Ben Roethlisberger, and was an offensive assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles (2007-08).