One Man’s Opinion: Continuing The Conversation With New Canaan High Legendary Coach Lou Marinelli

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Here is more from the interview with New Canaan High Coach Lou Marinelli, a piece of which appeared in my recruiting piece yesterday.

Here he is on head coach Paul Pasqualoni and offensive coordinator and line coach George DeLeone and their impact on state coaches, recruiting, etc. It’s a pretty down year in recruiting in the state this year according to recruiting guru Tom Lemming but that UConn got the best it had to offer.

“I talked to George the other day and he’s killing himself. I don’t think the guy is sleeping at all. His quote to me was, ‘I’ve got to find a better way to coach, I’ve got to be better, I’ve got to do better’ so I can just imagine he’s…those guys work harder than everybody I’ve ever seen and I think most of the coaches in the state appreciate how hard those guys are working. I’d be very surprised, in fact I know, they’re in every school in the state, which never really happened before.”

“I’ve got  a kid playing at Notre Dame right now {6-5, 305lb offensive guard Connor Hanratty) right now who was never recruited by UConn and he’s not starting as a sophomore. I remember we had this big thing where Randy [former UConn Coach Randy Edsall] said ‘well I’m not going to recruit a kid that doesn’t come to my camp.’ Well, OK, so he went to Notre Dame. Now maybe Randy was right on the kid but I think this kid is going to be a player for Notre Dame. You would think they would have been all over that kid. They didn’t even recruit him. Randy had his ways and he got a major bowl game and had success. There’s a lot of different ways to skin a cat.”

Do you see things changing on the front under the current staff?

“I do see those kinds of things changing. I do, only because I think Paul and his staff will be on those kinds of kids at a younger age. I mean those guys do their homework, especially in-state because those guys are from the state, They know people from the old regimes but they also know the younger coaches coming up. They’ve done so much for us already as far as their own clinics and inviting us up to talk football whenever. They give up an awful lot of their time, for no pay, to help us become better football coaches. I think UConn going Division I certainly has helped high school football in the state but with these guys I think it’s even better because I get the feel these guys care and are there for you and I know I’m not alone in that feeling.”

You mentioned earlier you didn’t think Pasqualoni came into a fair situation. Can you expand on that?

“I think that the program was left in dire straits and I think Paul is starting to get the brunt of that. He’s not a stranger to Division I football and I think you’re going to see it turnaround in the next year or so because he will have brought in more of his kids.”

 

 

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41 thoughts on “One Man’s Opinion: Continuing The Conversation With New Canaan High Legendary Coach Lou Marinelli

  1. Bada-Bing Bada-Boom

    Let’s see…Marinelli, Pasqualoni,Deleone…hmm I’ve seen them all down at the Italian club..I think I’ve even seen Marianatto over there making meatballs..”The wingman Marinelli” has spoken…

  2. Mike

    I dont understand the importance of the CT HS FB Coaches happiness with the UConn Head FB Coach?

    Apparently they were unhappy with RE yet he was A-able to put winning teams on the field and B-able to land CT recruits (yes, we would all have liked a few more).

    Did I really see Marinelli referred to as “legendary”?

    The CT HS Coaches were able to band together to get PP hired and we have all seen the results.

    Now if and when PP gets fired these coaches are going to be in an uproar and hold it against the next guy? What good is that going to do? These men need to deflate their ego’s a little bit for the greater good of our state’s flagship university.

    Hopefully the next guy can polotic better than RE (who admittedly was terrible at that) and we can have a winning program AND happy in-state coaches (which, despite the way my post may read, I do look at as important).

  3. Rhatman

    By the way DC since HCRE left immediately after the Fiesta Bowl any failure to step up in recruiting after that has been under HCPP’s watch.

  4. Rhatman

    DC I think if you check your posts prior to both of HCPP’s first season there won’t be much of an indication that you though UCONN wasn’t going to continue to do well. Don’t think you can judge a program’s trend by recruiting performance either, particularly UCONN’s, who never did well in the recruiting rankings during HCRE’s tenure. If anything though, if you review the last 10 years, recruiting (according to the rankings) was gradually improving under HCRE, so even by that measure things were trending upward (ever so slightly). It wasn’t like the Fiesta Bowl was a one off good season either, we’d had consistent solid years in the lead up to it. I think that’s a more accurate guide of a program’s trend, which shows their actual performance on the field, as opposed to recruting rankings.

  5. paul

    Here is the deal. There was no love loss b/t HCRE and the high school coaches around CT. HCRE thumbed his nose at them and did little to cultivate a sense of pride in Conn football. THis is insulting to a group of men that have dedicated their lives to developing kids become young men through the game of football. HCRE deserves a lot of credit and respect for a whole bunch of things, but he did fail in this particular regard. Legendary coach and icon Lou Marinelli was simply offering two anecdotal examples. First, how HCRE snubbed a Conn kid for unsupportable reasons and in so doing snubbed Conn h.s. football. Second, how the current regime, for all of its failures in East Hartford/Storrs, has at least succeeded in building and fostering a relationship with the in state coaches, programs, and players. Coach Marinelli is loyal to the staff in Storrs since they are loyal to him and his peers across our great state. That is a positive attribute no matter how much longer HCPP lasts (i’ve predicted that it is over in separate posts).
    It does not have to be an either or proposition, which is what many posts suggest. It can be both a positive relationship with in-state programs (e.g. Nebraska or Arkansas in the long run) and more on the field success. Nobody is suggesting UCONN can win with a line-up of Conn kids; however, with more positive relationships they can depend upon a greater share of the D-1 recruits as being the foundation upon which to build. Florida, Penn State, USC, Notre Dame, UNC, and Boston College regularly recruit too many of our kids. We can’t keep them all, but we can grow the percentage.

  6. TheJerk

    Dez, I would hit reply again but that button dissapeared. You wanna know what the great thing about numbers are? you can turn them however you want. The “trend” of the last 4 years of RE was good. 33-19 and a consistant 8+ win team. Including 2 shares of a BE title. Now with that being said his recruiting on paper always sucked. Was anyone blown away when donald brown decided to come to CT? nobody knew who he was. I think RE leveled off at recruiting, albeit, a very low leveling off. But the fact remained he got kids that were willing to work hard, by into the TomCoughlin way of football and win more games than you lose. Everyone here can agree that the program leveled off. But what the arguement is, is RE leaving the program in “dire straits”. If these kids are not willing to work as hard under PP, than they are not going to be a good team, then hey, people cant expect to “get thier money for nothing, and thier chicks for free”

    1. dconner Post author

      I just think people need to get off the notion the program was trending upward after the Fiesta Bowl. It should have been but it wasn’t because it wasn’t equipped to trend upward. The recruiting hits that should have come as a result didn’t come. The dire straits comment is not mine but I do agree we could say that about the offense, started a walk-on quarterback last year and a 166 pound tailback. Not sure how far people expected to go with that in a new system

      1. Anonymous

        Delorenzo and Hypolite are on the team right? They could play right? They are much bigger and can break tackles. Why didn’t either of them get a carry against Syracuse? I sometimes think that Coach P has been his own worst enemy. Last year he didn’t change QB’s. You even called for it.

        It is what it is but once again this dire straight comment is way off.

  7. Artie A...

    Hey Jerk, I’ll play. Actually I will just state my opinion on yours. As to a kid coming to the camp and the cost of recruiting. Any young man projected to be a 4 / 5 star player from CT should get an offer automatically.

    Unless they have been arrested or flunking out they get an offer. What does it cost other than the price of a stamp. Kids now a days want to be coddled, how often have you read “I stayed true to West Over Shoe State because they came in early and stayed with me.”

    Randys last two recruiting classes were some of his lesser accomplishments over all and rated last in the BE. Jordan Todman in my opinion was not NFL ready. He took a beating his last season and knew his two best linemen were moving on, so he did also. He did not see protection on the horizon and his jump before Randys.

    Jerk I love how much you love our team so I will not use dire straits but many of us saw this coming.

    I am not a Paul guy but no matter who came here they were not going to jump out of the gate and run to the front with the horses in the stable. That and Randy would have missed out on the job he wanted. I wish him well he did a lot here and established a fledgling program in short order. He simply did not leave us in a good way on a few fronts.

    If this is not obvious to you the magic pumpkin will be by tomorrow night. You have made me a believer in that one! Much better than the days of collecting candy….

    1. TheJerk

      Look, the whole concept of keeping kids here in CT is nobel, and great for fans and familys alike. But the notion of just handing out scholorships to 4/5 star recruits like pez, just becuase they are from CT is a little nieve. this is a business after all. Now excuse me for a second while I go look up RE last 2 recruiting classes….. Ok i’m back now. funny thing on RE’s last 2 recruiting classes is on paper they sucked. Now sort out the recruits by star rating or national rating. The kids who were rated the lowest are some the best players on the team now. Anyway I’mnot sure that is even pertinent informatin to this argument.

      Now to quote Navins favorite artist “vanilla ice”, we’re gonna stop, collaborate and listen. You cant be stocked at every position every year. Otherwise you would be Alabama. Looking at our defense right now, (which the core is a RE defense) the team is in very good shape on all 3 lines of defense. The kicking game was left in good shape for the most part. (with teggert last year, and christian who has shown signs of being good, but was highly touted). The running back position was left with lyle mccoombs. The wide-outs have always sucked under RE. So you are left with QB and OL. Did RE ever have a good QB after Dan ‘O? no. So really what we are looking at for the term “team left in dire straits” is an OL that is certainly not what us as fans are used to seeing. Can one postion that is down, and maybe not even because of players, maybe because of a different OL coach, can we say the program is “in dire straits”? Things that have put this program in “dire straits” are erroding fan base, a weak conference, poor national perception, fireworks going off over bathrroms, a pre-game hype guy going to the clink, DJ Joey Franchize, etc etc. None of those things have anything to do with RE or PP. my fingers are tired

      1. Navin R. Johnson

        What has the program in dire straights is losing to teams that Connecticut should be beating and lack of talent being developed. Period.

  8. TheJerk

    I drove around all day thinking about this post, and I’m big on thoughts and short on words.

    Recruiting at the D-1 level costs money, time, and resources of a school. If RE felt he had no chance at a kid why would he try to recruit him? Is PP a better recruiter? maybe. Its yet to be determined I guess. Why do the high school love PP so much? Is he a nice guy? maybe. Is he nicer than RE? most likely. But is there something more there? Because PP runs around the state and trys for every recruit in this state does he make the high school coaches of this state feel like big boys? most likely. Last time I checked this state only produces 4 or 5, 3 star recruits a year. The high school coaches of this area dont exactly have a path beaten to thier door from bigtime D-1 schools.

    Secondly, He’s off base with his program beng left in dire straits remark. If anyone wants to argue that point I will gladly take them on

  9. husky66

    sorry, but have to agree w/ RE on the camp thing. If a kid shows no interest then why would his coach expect him to be recruited? and let’s face it, hard to turn down ND, for FB anyway.

    As for GD killing himself w/ work, I think it was John Wooden who said, “don’t confuse activity w/ achievement.” you get outscored that badly in the second half and its not just a talent deficit, its a coaching deficit.

    The biggest problem last year was that the starting QB got thrown out of school for smoking doobies. He’s there and they probably win two more games at least. and then its whole different story for PP. But I do believe Edsall did get outrecruited because it was no secret he was on everyone’s list of hires. and its just as evident that getting the same level of recruits hasn’t worked to date for PP. RE got quite a bit out of who he had, PP not so much yet.

    I think PP deserves year three if his team shows up in these last games. But even one more perforamnce like the Syracuse game and he should be gone immediately at season’s end. He shouldn’t keep his job if his team doesn’t want to play.

  10. TAD

    It appears that in the last two years of Edsall’s rein here in Huskyland he spent more time interviewing for a new job than recruiting. Opposing teams were telling potential recruits that Edsall would not be around for long. In my humble opinion Edsall’s actions really did hurt the football program ( two subpar recruiting years)even though he was able to get Uconn into a major bowl his last year. None of this however, explains Uconn’s loses to Westerm Michigan who isn’t even a good MAC team, that pitiful performance in the win against Buffalo ( another lousy MAC team) and not even showing up to play Syracuse. You can’t blame Edsall for poor game preparation and performance.

    1. dconner Post author

      absolutely right…You are 100 percent on here. An argument was made that the program was in building upward – building. Your recruiting classes is a good one not to mention all the others.

  11. Mike

    The only good thing about bringing back this coaching staff for another year is that we will have two full recruiting and transfer acquisitions years on campus and 3 years of ” the system”. That is an eternity in D1. Then, there will be no more excuses. You win or go home. Did anyone think that the Syracuse stinker, where they were clearly unprepared and unmotivated, was a talent thing ? We play one of the weakest schedules in major college football and we can’t compete. Stop blaming RE for what is on the field right now and stop blaming George Bush if you are unemployed.

  12. Rhatman

    Don’t forget Randy had a lot of his success with very ordinary/vanilla offenses, but he always got the most out of his teams and found ways to win, don’t see that happening at all with this current coaching staff. When Randy E started in 99 the cupboard was worse than bare, it was barren, but it only took him 3 years to start achieving real success, without all the facilities, the new stadium etc that HCPP now has at his disposal. HCPP doesn’t know what a bare cupboard is in comparison. Pretty weak on his current players (who are putting their bodies on the line for him) to start putting little comments out there like he has just done, pretty clear to me that he’s making excuses to try to save his job. 53 – 0 in the 2nd half in the last 4 games is just another area that shows it’s the coaches, failing to make adjustments, that is really costing the team. Very sad to see where we are now, given the effort that went into building this program in the not so distant past.

    1. dconner Post author

      Hey did I miss something? What comments did the head coach put out to save his job? Does 74-70 in 11 years really mean a lot of success? I think the numbers fully support four games above average
      dont they?

      1. TheJerk

        74-70 at florida or LSU sucks. 74-70 taking a program into D-1 is pretty good. You wanna ask our friends to the north at UMass if they would take that kind of success?

          1. TheJerk

            If i was at ohio state or LSU no. But consider where the program was in 99 (a-10 conference) to bcs bowl. And I really think people need to look at his record in terms of 2004-2010 in which he was 50-37.

          2. dconner Post author

            We being selective now on what years to look at? That’s like saying to a young couple looking for house, ‘ok, your credit history over 11 years is just above average but if we take out these two years it’s much better let’s go for the 400k house!” …In other words I don’t think we can do that.

            Now, if you want to be selective, let’s take the years you pulled and look at the 05 and 06 seasons? How did those turnout? They also came on the heels of the Motor City Bowl where everybody was talking about the program being ahead of schedule and recruiting would pick up. What did it pick up to?

            Two losing seasons followed. The first with five wins, the next one with four.

            This notion that the program was trending upward under the previous coach I just don’t see that as true. To me, it was trending at average.

  13. Artie A...

    I am one who agrees Randy left the basket empty. Hate to disagree with people like Navin but his recruiting and game had reached a plateau.

    He took a 8-5 team into a BCS bowl game (which spells weak conference) with weeks to plan and showed absolutely not a single variation of the regular offense and got his ass kicked. His personal plans had already been made.

    Todman and the fullback off to the NFL. Next QB up a walk on, hello? Linemen with NFL potential gone.

    He may not have left us in a bad way intentionally but most should remember his cozy relationship with Hathaway. Gary makes some very good points here…

      1. Navin R. Johnson

        Edsall might not have lef the program as an A+ shape but he left there was a structure for at least 6 wins in 2011 and 2012. That didn’t happen last year and won’t this year.

        Now how about developing tallent? Has Coach P developed tallent here? No. Edsall did and could he have gotten last years team to 6 wins…I think so.

        Now I’m not a huge Edsall fan. For some reason I liked his type of ball. You knew what you were going to get with him and it was a structured team. This isn’t at the moment.

  14. Waquoit

    So HCRE didn’t recruit one of his players, so what? That makes P a better coach? The CT HS coaches have never been friends of the UConn program. Their say-so was a big selling point for the P hire. Thank’s a bunch, guys!

  15. Mike

    ” Dire Straits” WOW! Mr. Marinelli, you lose all credibility when you make a statement like that. I guess you are saying ” don’t believe what your eyes are telling you , believe me because I am Lou Marinelli.” By the way, I don’t recall anyone ever questioning the work ethic of these coaches. I am sure they do the best job they can. But, like all of us in all profressions, we eventually can’t hit the fastball any more. Did anyone watch Cinn/Louisville. I see a couple big time beatdowns coming up. And you are right Lou. He did get to a major bowl. Even in your world of logic and insight, that isn’t going to happen here.

    1. Gary

      Randy did not leave the offense in good shape. We had no Quarterback. We had to play a walk on. We had no real good running back. We have a very undersized Lyle McCoombs. Our supposed “playmaker” is Nick Williams, who wasn’t even recruited by most programs. I’m not defending what PP has done or not done. But Randy bailed out on a very poor offense. I doubt he would have had more than 6 wins last year. One more than PP. PP has brought in some good talent at QB. Not sure what’s wrong with the Oline. Maybe should have left Foley in charge of that.

  16. Mike

    Well, Im sure that we will all sleep better at night knowing that Coach P has done a heck of a job educating the CT HS Coaches!

    I do not understand his comments about his OL being at ND at all? So Randy wouldn’t offer the kid because the kid wouldn’t give up a half a day in the summer to come to his camp. Seems very reasonable to me. PP can offer that kid a scholarship all he wants, if the kid isnt willing to give up a half a day in the summer to come visit, then the kid isnt going to UConn anyway, so what does offering him a scholarship accomplish? Randy not offering the kid a scholarship does not mean that Randy didnt think the kid could play, it means he was realistic that the kid wasnt coming.

    CT HS Coaches need to get off their high horse. UConn is a national program now (or at least is should be). A lot goes into the scholarship process. Do not take it personal if a player that plays for you doesnt get offered.

    So now the CT HS Coaches got what they want with PP getting hired.

    I wasn’t a huge Randy fan but it is obvious that the team was better prepared and played harder under his regime than it is under this one.

    Moral of the story: let the Athletic Director make a hire based on who can best lead this program going forward, not who is going to do the best job recruiting CT HS kids. I love this state, the HS FB in it and UConn. The bottom line is that that UConn is not going to be a nationally prominent football program because of it’s ability to land CT kids. I assure you I hold a special place in my heart for the CT kids wearing the blue and white but Id rather the Huskies win than anything else.

  17. Navin R. Johnson

    “The program was left in dire straits”— Lou Marinelli

    I don’t get that comment. The program grew and grew under Coach Edsal. They had just came off of a BCS game and had a solid base of players for 2011 to get to 6 wins.

  18. mikeinmanila

    I guess we’ll see…but you can already hear the “we need more time” arguement being pushed for 2013.

    Sorry Dez, I just don’t think the fan base will support keeping Pasqualoni if we have another losing season next year…and here’s why:

    Even if you were being generous and gave Pasqualoni an “B” on recruiting, how would you grade Pasqualoni and DeLeone on:

    * Improving players skill levels/production (maybe a “D” grade…clearly the Offensive Line has been a disaster)

    * Game day coaching/results? (how could it be anything but an “F”?)

    If you add up those grades (i.e., B, D and F) and give them equal weight, it would equate to an overall grade of “D”…I don’t think UConn or it’s fans will accept “D” level performance.

    So unless DeLeone is relieved of his OC responsibilities for 2013, and/or the offense dramatically improves, allowing UConn to get to a winning record, I just don’t see how he and Pasqualoni make it past 2013.

    1. dconner Post author

      Hi Mike. Not sure why youre apologizing to me? I think the fanbase can do or say whatever it wants and where so, I dont know Im not sure why the apology. Anyway, I think the AD probably has an idea of what he would like to see in 2013. If its not what he wants to see then he may have a decision to make. We can speculate and make up report cards and all that but Warde Manuel will make the call. All I’ve said is not to expect a new head coach in 2013 and from what I’ve seen subsequent stories and direct quotes from the AD bears that out. Now for that, to some, Im sorry Mike.

      1. RST

        Well, Warde Manuel — and Susan Herbst, and maybe the trustees — will make the call. No decisions with financial implications are made in a vacuum.

      2. mikeinmanila

        Fair enough…but I don’t think Warde Manuel will be totally immune from fans and alumni’s wishes after this year…I did get a chuckle from your last sentence though…well said

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