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Big East Football: Paul Pasqualoni Hired As UConn Head Coach

The Syracuse Orange officially have their biggest rival in the Big East Conference for the 2011-12 season.

In the most bizarre afternoon in Connecticut Huskies football history, the school decided on its new head coach Wednesday. And it's not Mark Whipple.

It's former Syracuse University head coach Paul Pasqualoni!

"Once thought to be a certain hire, former UMass and UNH coach Mark Whipple is out," wrote Neill Ostrout of ctnews.com. "Interim coach Hank Hughes, Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee were also in the mix"

"But it’s Pasqualoni, the 61-year-old former Syracuse coach, who will guide the Huskies know."

This turn of events has Sean Keeley of SB Nation's Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician excited.

"As a Syracuse fan, excuse me for saying "Wow" out loud as I read the news. And as a Syracuse fan, this news EXCITES THE PANTS OFF OF ME."

Pasqualoni, who has been floating around the NFL as an assistant coach since being dismissed from SU in 2004, has been in the rumor mill for the UConn job but never stood out among the other candidates.

(Archived article: Why Syracuse Had To Fire Coach Pasqualoni.)

As of this morning, Whipple was by far the front runner for the job -- this was a blog post from SB Nation's The UConn Blog this morning.

That's not the case now.