UConn game a homecoming for USF's Hargreaves
Just as USF's opener at Notre Dame was a homecoming for head coach Skip Holtz, this week's trip to Connecticut is much the same for assistant coach Vernon Hargreaves, who was born in New Haven and played and coached for the Huskies.
"This is going to be the first time (back)," said Hargreaves, who has faced his old school as an assistant at Miami and last year at USF, but never before in his home state. "I haven't been to that stadium. When we walk in there, that'll be the first time. I used to live right down the road."
Hargreaves, who coaches USF's special teams units and defensive ends, lived about five miles from Rentschler Field in nearby Manchester, but the Huskies played in Storrs at Memorial Stadium during his playing and coaching days. He played linebacker for Connecticut from 1980-83 in its I-AA days and is still sixth on the school's career tackles list with 393. He earned third-team All-America honors as a senior in 1983, helping the Huskies to a share of the Yankee Conference crown. He still ranks among UConn's all-time best for tackles in a season (149 in 1982) and a game (20 vs. Holy Cross, 1983).
As Holtz did at Notre Dame, Hargreaves returned to his alma mater as an assistant, coaching the Huskies linebackers for 13 seasons from 1985-97. The last four were spent on Holtz's staff, and he rejoined Holtz at East Carolina before following him to USF last year.
"I was there for a long time," said Hargreaves, who still has siblings and many friends in Connecticut. "It's been a while, but we had some good times, won some games, did some good things. I played with some good guys, still have some real good friends there."
It's another homecoming for Holtz, who was born in tiny Willimantic, Conn., in 1964, when his father Lou was an assistant coach at UConn. Skip Holtz had his first head coaching job with the Huskies from 1994-98 and speaks fondly of his time in Storrs as UConn started its move toward I-A football.
(Working on an archive photo from Hargreaves' playing days back at UConn ...)