HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut football coach Paul Pasqualoni was fired Monday, with his team 0-4 and coming off a 41-12 loss at Buffalo.
Athletic director Warde Manuel announced the dismissal two days after the latest defeat. Pasqualoni, in his third season at UConn, finishes with a 10-18 record.
“I am making this change in our football coaching staff now as we approach the conference season to see an improved performance from our football program,” Manuel said in a statement.
The school said it will pay Pasqualoni $750,000 to buy out his contract.
The Huskies have a bye week before hosting South Florida on Oct. 12.
Offensive coordinator T.J. Weist will take over as interim head coach. The 48-year-old Weist, who played at Alabama, came to Connecticut in the offseason from Cincinnati, where he coached wide receivers.
Weist also has worked at his alma mater, Michigan, Southern Illinois, Tulsa and Western Kentucky.
The Connecticut-born Pasqualoni took over the football team at its height. UConn had appeared in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, losing, 48-20, to Oklahoma. But UConn finished just 5-7 in consecutive years, and calls for Pasqualoni’s job started mounting after the team opened the season with a loss to Towson.
The Huskies then fell to Maryland and Randy Edsall, the coach whom Pasqualoni replaced. The team seemed to be playing better, beaten by 24-21 at home to a Michigan team then ranked No. 15, before being blown out at Buffalo.
University President Susan Herbst said the school is looking forward to a “stronger future that starts today” and urged fans to support the team for the rest of the season.
“As we saw at our last home game, the amazing energy and highly charged spirit of our fans breathes life into this team and that must continue and be repeated again and again,” she said. “There is no substitute.”
Offensive line coach George DeLeone also was fired.
Manuel, the athletic director at Buffalo before accepting the Connecticut job in 2012, on Saturday called that loss unacceptable.
“I am disappointed in the record of our team thus far, but I am confident that our coaching staff and student-athletes will continue to work hard to improve and that will be reflected on the field of play as we start our American Athletic Conference season,” he said Monday.
This was Pasqualoni’s first head coaching position since he was fired by Syracuse in 2004.