BALTIMORE — Randy Edsall, who diligently worked to build the Connecticut football program into a winner, was hired Sunday to pull off a similar feat at Maryland.
Edsall was named to replace Ralph Friedgen, who was fired after 10 years at his alma mater.
Edsall spent 12 years at Connecticut. He guided the Huskies out of Division I-AA and into the Big East, where he won a pair of conference titles and earned postseason appearances in each of the last four years.
Edsall, 52, emerged as a surprise candidate over the weekend. He beat out former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, who was considered the favorite when the search began.
The Washington Post reported that a faction at Maryland was concerned about certain aspects of Leach's recent history, and the school decided on a non-confrontational hire instead.
Edsall, the 2010 Big East coach of the year, led the Huskies to eight or more wins in each of the last four seasons. He was 74-70, losing to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday.
Edsall did not accompany the team on its charter flight back to Connecticut, and players said he told them nothing of his coaching plans after the loss to Oklahoma.
Players said when they landed they began receiving text messages about reports Edsall had been hired at Maryland.
"We had a meeting in the locker room after the game with a bunch of farewells," defensive tackle Twyon Martin said. "If Edsall already had this decision made, we're kind of shocked he wouldn't have said anything then."
Maryland will hold a news conference today.
Ducks in desert: Oregon arrived at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix on Sunday, receiving a nice reception from early arriving Ducks fans as they begin preparations for the BCS title game Jan. 10. Oregon (12-0) faces Auburn (13-0), which is scheduled to arrive today.
Alabama: After administering a 49-7 beating to Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl, coach Nick Saban awaits word on who will return and who will leave for the NFL draft. Running back Mark Ingram, receiver Julio Jones and defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, all juniors, are projected as first-round draft picks. "It's a life-changing decision," said Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner. "I'm going to go and talk to Coach Saban and meet with my family and things like that in the next week or so and try to make a decision what's best for me."
Clemson: Coach Dabo Swinney said offensive coordinator Billy Napier and running backs coach Andre Powell won't be retained.
South Carolina: Redshirt sophomore receiver Tori Gurley said he will enter the NFL draft. Gurley caught 44 passes for 465 yards and four touchdowns this season after catching 21 for 440 yards as a freshman.
late Fiesta: After five straight BCS bowl losses and a five-loss season, No. 9 Oklahoma (12-2) posted a convincing 48-20 win over UConn in the Fiesta Bowl late Saturday in Glendale, Ariz.
Oklahoma's flashy offense was too much for UConn (8-5). The Sooners jumped to a 14-0 lead after its first two drives and rolled up 524 total yards.
Quarterback Landry Jones set a school bowl record with 429 yards and three touchdowns on 34-of-49 passing.
All-American Ryan Broyles set a school bowl record with 170 yards receiving and tied another with 13 catches, adding a touchdown.
"This season was great," Jones said. "We couldn't have asked for anything better than this, this win and finishing the year strong."
UConn running back Jordan Todman, who had 121 yards on 32 carries, said after the game that he will enter the NFL draft.