Last year, about midway through the season while bonuses were being announced for a number of college head coaches for becoming bowl-eligible, one bonus update was shared by Steve Berkowitz that was unlike any of the others.
While UConn and Randy Edsall were mired in a 1-6 start to the 2018 season (a disappointing season that would ultimately end in a 1-11 campaign where the Huskies fielded the worst defense in the history of college football) Edsall was collecting some – let’s call then “unique” – bonuses.
Those bonuses included what many would consider pretty trivial things. For example, Edsall collected a few grand a piece for scoring first, winning the turnover margin, and then having more tackles for loss and a better red zone efficiency than opponents.
A day after most team’s second game of the season, after the Huskies had dropped 31-23 decision to Illinois, Berkowitz shared an annual reminder with everyone that, once again, Edsall’s contract is structured so that he collects a few grand for those same criteria.
UConn coach Randy Edsall picked up at least $6,000 in bonuses in Huskies' loss to Illinois yesterday: He gets $2,000 apiece from UConn scoring first, forcing at least 2 turnovers and having better red-zone scoring efficiency. He's up to at least $32,000 in bonuses for the season.
— Steve Berkowitz (@ByBerkowitz) September 8, 2019
While, to my knowledge, there’s no data out there to show scoring first and red zone efficiency lead to wins, I can recall seeing research to show the link between turnovers, as well as tackles for loss and winning ball games.
To his credit, back in January Edsall did step up on his own accord to pay $150k out of his own pocket ensure his offensive coordinator John Dunn a raise to go along with a new promotion to associate head coach. He also announced a plan to match 10% of all donations to toward necessary renovations to the UConn football facilities earlier this year as well.
No one can honestly question Edsall’s love for UConn. After all, he returned after a stint at Maryland to try and get the program heading back in the direction it was going before he left for the Terps in 2011, but these…well…”creative” bonuses aren’t exactly a flattering look.
UConn is sitting at 1-1 currently following that loss to Illinois, and an 24-21 opening weekend win over FCS Wagner (24-21). They’ll head to Indiana this weekend to take on Tom Allen’s Hoosiers and while Edsall will be looking for a win, there will be plenty of others watching to see if the Huskies score first, have more tackles for loss, are more efficient in the red zone, and win the turnover battle.