Late Wednesday night news broke that Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco had been hired as the new head football coach at UConn. The 40-year-old Diaco and Connecticut reportedly reached a five-year contract that will start at $1.5 million per year.
Diaco has been at Notre Dame since 2010, arriving with head coach Brian Kelly from Cincinnati. He won the 2012 Broyles Award, which is given annually to the top assistant coach in college football. In 2012, Notre Dame’s defense allowed just 12.8 points per game as the Irish went undefeated and reached the BCS title game. He had been a semifinalist for the award in 2011.
This fall, Notre Dame went 8-4 and ranked 45th in total defense and 32nd in scoring defense.
CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman was the first to report the move.
Earlier on Wednesday reports surfaced that Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi had turned down an offer to become the head coach at UConn. That decision came after meeting with the school’s athletic director, Warde Manuel, Wednesday morning. Narduzzi was this year’s recipient of the Broyles Award.
Diaco will replace Paul Pasqualoni, who was in his third year at UConn when he was fired in the middle of the 2013 season. In his two and a half years in charge, Pasqualoni led the Huskies to a 10-18 record overall and a 5-9 mark in conference.
Pasqualoni had replaced the wildly popular Randy Edsall, who bolted for Maryland after the 2010 season. Edsall had taken the Huskies to a BCS Bowl in his final season by winning the Big East, but Pasqualoni could never replicate his success.
Diaco’s new regime will have a lot of rebuilding to do to turn UConn around, as the team finished 3-9 this year.
Diaco is the second Notre Dame assistant coach to bolt for a head job this offseason, as offensive coordinator Chuck Martin also left to become head coach at Miami of Ohio.