Bob Diaco might be just 41 years old and eight months on the job as the Huskies' head coach, but you get the sense it's something he's been preparing or his entire professional life. That's how friend and assistant head coach Don Patterson sees it, anyway.
"I am so impressed with how he's handled himself as a head coach," Patterson said, via the Hartford Courant. "I'm not surprised because he's such a smart guy, and he's been observing coaches for years and years."
That includes Brian Kelly when he was at Central Michigan, Al Groh when he was at Virginia and just about everybody else that he's run into on his football journey.
"He's been down this road before," Patterson continued. "Before the UConn hire, he was up for the [Boston College] job you might recall and I'm sure then he was thinking, 'I know how I want to run my program.' I don't know how much came from Hayden Fry (who recruited Diaco to Iowa), Brian Kelly or Don Patterson, but I think his ideas about how to be a good head coach probably came from all of the above and then some. I think he's such a smart guy, has given it a lot of thought. He knows how he wants to do it and he's determined to stay on that track."
Not surprisingly, Diaco can't wait to start playing.
"I'm excited," he said. "I'm excited to watch the players. I'm excited to see what our last nine months of work looks like. I'm excited to see what guys are going to rise to the occasion and what guys will have trouble with it. That will be interesting. It's all kind of enjoyable, fun to watch, even the ones that don't necessarily have success. You get excited about figuring out ways to help them be better than they were. It's just a new challenge, a new moment, and one that our program is excited to be a part of."
Ultimately, how well Diaco has prepared for this moment -- and how well the team responds to his coaching -- will go a long way in determining if the Huskies will be competitive in the AAC or if they'll be looking at another losing season.