Football: Edsall adds coaches to staff, Billy Crocker as defensive coordinator

Randy Edsall speaks at his introductory press conference at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field on Dec. 30, 2016. (Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog)

Randy Edsall speaks at his introductory press conference at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field on Dec. 30, 2016. (Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog)

Weeks after returning to UConn, head coach Randy Edsall has filled many of the empty positions on the staff for his second stint on the Huskies’ sidelines with a handful of coaches with UConn ties.

Saturday morning, Edsall announced that former Villanova defensive coordinator Billy Crocker had been hired as his defensive coordinator.

"I am very excited to have Billy join our staff as the defensive coordinator," Edsall said. "When you research the work he has done the past several years with the Villanova defense, the productivity and improvement is unprecedented. I am thrilled to bring the Connecticut native back to work with us here at UConn."

Crocker just finished his fifth year at Villanova as the defensive coordinator. In 2016, the Wildcats led the FCS in total defense with just 259.9 yards allowed per game, as well as scoring defense with just 15.0 points allowed.

After taking over the Villanova defense in 2012, Crocker oversaw an improvement from the nation's 90th ranked scoring defense in 2011 to a top-25 unit.

Friday, Edsall announced that Curome Cox, who spent the past four years coaching cornerbacks and special teams at Coastal Carolina, would serve as his defensive backs coach. Cox was an All-ACC pick as a cornerback at Maryland in 2003.

Previously, Edsall and the school announced that four positions had been filled. Terry Richardson will return as the running backs coach, Jon Wholley will return to coach linebackers and Edsall’s son Corey will coach tight ends. Ryan Steinberg has been named Director of Football Operations.

Richardson returns after coaching some of the Huskies’ top running backs from 1999-2010, including Donald Brown and Jordan Todman. After his first stint at UConn, Richardson served as the running backs coach at the University of Miami, working with current NFL running backs Duke Johnson and Lamar Miller. After two seasons as running backs coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Richardson last coached in 2015 with Randy Edsall at Maryland.

Wholley returns to his former position with the Huskies as well, coaching linebackers once again after doing so for UConn from 2011-13. Prior to coaching, Wholley walked on to UConn as a running back and worked his way up to eventually earn a scholarship, playing from 2001-04. In between his time at UConn, Wholley served as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for Fordham. This year, the Rams defense ranked 11th in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in sacks and 34th in passing yards allowed.

Corey Edsall joins UConn after serving as a graduate assistant at Colorado for the last two seasons. After playing one season at quarterback at Syracuse, Corey left to join his father at Maryland, where he served as a student assistant from 2012-14. Corey Edsall takes over a talented but underutilized tight ends unit that managed just 35 catches for 332 yards and two touchdowns between Alec Bloom, Tommy Myers and Tyler Davis.

Lastly, Steinberg joins UConn after eight seasons with Maryland from 2008-15. Steinberg spent his first four years as the Terrapins’ assistant recruiting coordinator before spending his last four as assistant director of operations.

This group of coaches will join Edsall and new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, who spent the past four years as offensive coordinator at Auburn.

Associate Sports Editor Tyler Keating contributed to the reporting for this article.


Dan Madigan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering football and women's basketball. He can be reached via email at daniel.madigan@uconn.edu. He tweets @dmad1433.