BALTIMORE -- Randy Edsall, who diligently worked to build the Connecticut football program into a winner, has been hired to pull off a similar feat at Maryland.
Edsall was picked Sunday to replace Ralph Friedgen, who was fired after a 10-year run at his alma mater.
Edsall spent 12 years at Connecticut. He guided the Huskies out of Division I-AA (now FCS) and into the Big East, where he won a pair of conference titles and earned postseason appearances in each of the past four years.
Connecticut lost to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday night.
The 52-year-old Edsall emerged as a surprise candidate for the job over the weekend. He beat out former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, who was considered the favorite when the search began on Dec. 20.
Edsall, the 2010 Big East coach of the year, led the Huskies to eight or more wins in each of the past four seasons. He finished with a 74-70 record at UConn.
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 Fiesta Bowl 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."
A freshman who asked not to be identified told the Hartford Courant that Edsall informed some of his players over the phone.
"It really pisses me off because he made [running back] Jordan [Todman] address the team last night to say he was leaving [for the NFL draft]," said the freshman, who also expressed his desire to transfer. "And he isn't man enough to do it face to face to us?
"A lot of people were just really upset by the call. He made Todman get up and tell the whole team: 'Jordan, I think you have something to say to these guys.' He made him do it face-to-face. But he didn't do it face-to-face."
Wide receiver Kashif Moore also told the Courant he was disappointed.
"For being like a leader on this team, I've been here awhile, it's disappointing but at the same time, Coach Edsall has done so much for the program," Moore said. "I love him as a person and what he did for us after Jazz [Howard] was killed. I respect him for that but at the end of the day, and I learned this when I was getting recruited, this is a business. We can't ever forget that."
Maryland announced the hiring in a short press release Sunday night. The College Park school will hold a press conference Monday afternoon to introduce Edsall as its new football coach.
First-year Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson fired Friedgen before Christmas. Friedgen finished up a 10-year stint at Maryland with a victory against East Carolina in the Military Bowl.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.