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Edsall reaches milestone at UConn

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

When Connecticut plays Rhode Island this weekend, Randy Edsall will be coaching in his 122nd game at the school.

That will make Edsall the longest-tenured coach in UConn history, surpassing J.O. Christian (1934-49).

"I never thought I'd be here for that many games," Edsall said this week. "It's great that I've been able to be one place this long."

Edsall is actually tied for the ninth-longest tenure at one school in the FBS. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz -- a UConn alumnus -- and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops were also hired in 1999 and are still in the same job.

Unlike those guys, however, Edsall had to build from the ground up. The Huskies were playing in the classification then known as I-AA until 2000. The transition wasn't easy, as UConn went 5-17 in its first two seasons of I-A, now known as the FBS.

But Edsall, who has a career 60-61 record, got the Huskies to 6-6 in 2002, followed by 9-3 in 2003. In 2004, they went to their first bowl game. They went to bowl games in back-to-back years for the first time in 2007 and 2008 and won a share of the Big East regular season title in '07.

Edsall is 51-37 at the FBS level and is 49-31 in his last 80 games. His work to make Connecticut not only respectable but a perennial bowl and Big East contender has been remarkable. Edsall is highly respected among his peers and is known as one of the best developers of talent in the business. That was highlighted this spring, when four Huskies -- three of whom had been lightly recruited -- were selected in the first two rounds in the NFL draft.

The only thing that's been slow to come to UConn and Edsall is national respect and attention. Part of that may stem from his low-key style.

"I'm not going to go out and beat our own horn," he said. "I've always been brought up that you go out and you earn your stripes. You work for what you get. My obligation is to this university and to these kids, to develop them and put the best product on the field that we can."

It seems appropriate that Edsall will set the longevity mark against Rhode Island. This is the 94th meeting between the schools, and the Rams are UConn's oldest rival. The Huskies, however, have zoomed past their former I-AA peers, and this weekend is a good time to appreciate Edsall's role in that progress.