While the men’s basketball program dominated today’s news coverage, UConn football continued to solidify their coaching staff today, announcing the hiring of new offensive line coach Frank Giufre, who becomes the second addition to the staff directly from the National Football League this offseason.
Spending the previous six seasons with the Indianapolis Colts as the offensive quality control coach, Giufre also served as the assistant offensive line coach for the last five years. He has seen football at the highest level not just in the NFL, but also in college. In 2001, he served as a graduate assistant with the Miami Hurricanes, winners of that year’s National Championship and also was a part of the group that fell to Ohio State in the overtime PI controversy the following season, a year that saw UConn play the Hurricanes, the only time the Huskies have taken on the No. 1 team in America.
Giufre played five seasons at Syracuse from 1995-99, a part of the Orange most successful run in recent memory where they appeared in five consecutive bowl games under then head coach Paul Pasqualoni. He grew up in the Syracuse area and despite offers from higher profile schools, stayed home for a major reason.
“Mainly to stay close to family,” he told Katrina Tulloch in a 2012 interview. “I wanted more than anything for my grandparents to see me play college football. My family didn’t miss one game. I wish I would’ve played more, but you live and learn. If it weren’t for my experience at Syracuse, I couldn’t do what I do now.”
Now that he’s back in the region and here at UConn, he couldn’t be happier.
“I’m excited to back in the Northeast and thrilled to be a part of Coach Edsall’s program at UConn,” Giufre said in today’s press release. “I have worked with (defensive line coach) Dennis Dottin-Carter and (director of player personnel) Michael Zyskowski during my time at Maine and have a great relationship with those guys. I can’t wait to coach with them and everyone else on staff in Storrs. It is an honor and a privilege to be on Coach Edsall’s staff and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
Giufre was destined to be involved in football and it started even before his teenage years, coincidentally meeting his former boss in Indy, Chuck Pagano, at a very young age.
“I met him when I was 10 years old in Boise, Idaho, with my mother and father,” he said. “We found out my father’s college roommates knew a coach at Boise State, Chuck Pagano. My dad and Chuck have been very close. They talk every week and I’ve always followed his career. He got me the GA position at the University of Miami. He was always a guy I knew I could pick up the phone and talk to no matter what. When he got in the NFL, that’s when I really started following him. Being from New York, you almost have to root for the Giants, the Buffalo Bills or the Jets, but I just rooted for his teams.”
Because of his close ties to the game, Giufre couldn’t see himself doing anything else with his life.
“To be honest with you, I missed not having football in my life,” he said. “I worked as a strength and conditioning coach but it always felt like there was a little something missing. It’s like ‘The Godfather,’ when Michael Corleone tells you this is the business he’s in. This is what I do. If I didn’t enjoy getting up every morning to do it, I wouldn’t. There’s a honeymoon period for every job but it’s been that way for as long as I can remember and I’m lucky.”
That’s something that will be music to Randy Edsall’s ears. The head coach commented on the hire in today’s press release.
“I’m pleased to have Frank join our staff and coach our offensive line,” he said. “His attention to detail and ability to teach and coach the fundamentals and techniques of offensive line play will benefit our young players. Having college and pro experience really fit what I was looking for in an offensive line coach and after talking with Bruce (Arians), Chuck (Pagano) and Coach Cosgrove (former Maine head coach), it was apparent to me that Frank was our guy. He has a great ability to connect with the student-athletes and will be a tremendous asset on the recruiting trail.”
It’s clear Edsall took Pagano’s recommendation to heart.
“I’ve known Frank for quite some time and he spent six years with me on our staff in Indianapolis,” Pagano said today, “He is dedicated, detail oriented and meticulous with his preparation. Frank is a leader of men and will be instrumental in helping all UConn players grow on and off the field. He is equally as good of a husband and father as he is a coach and he was well-respected by the entire Colts organization during his six years with the team. UConn is getting a fantastic coach.”
Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians also shared his thoughts on the hire.
“Frank is an outstanding young football coach who I had the pleasure of working with in Indianapolis,” he said. “He has a bright future and is an excellent offensive line coach that is skilled in technique and training. He is going to do a great job for UConn.”
Pagano served as a brand ambassador for Bose in 2015 in large part because of his character and reputation across the league. Having someone he holds in high regard join the UConn staff is a testament to the individuals head coach Randy Edsall wants to work with in order to bring the program back to national prominence. The below video chronicles Pagano’s journey as he battled through cancer at that time, an experience that certainly also helped Giufre grow as an individual:
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