UConn DC Lou Spanos steps away for personal reasons

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

STORRS, Conn. — UConn football defensive coordinator Lou Spanos has taken a leave of absence for personal reasons.

The school provided no further details and did not say whether Spanos is expected to return this season.

The 51-year-old served as UConn’s defensive coordinator from 2019-21 and became the Huskies’ interim head coach after Randy Edsall left the team two games into a 1-11 season a year ago.

Spanos was Jim Mora’s defensive coordinator at UCLA in 2012 and 2013 and agreed to coach under him again after Mora was hired to be the Huskies’ head coach in December.

UConn opens its season Aug. 27 at Utah State. A replacement for Spanos has not been named.

Mora to retain former UConn interim head coach Spanos as DC

Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

STORRS, Conn. — UConn coach Jim Mora announced that he is retaining the man he replaced, former interim head coach Lou Spanos, to serve as his defensive coordinator.

The decision comes despite an announcement last month from UConn that no members of Randy Edsall‘s staff would be retained by Mora.

Spanos served as Edsall’s defensive coordinator from 2019 until he took the top job after the school and Edsall parted ways in September.

Spanos also served as Mora’s defensive coordinator at UCLA from 2012-13 and has 27 years of coaching experience in the NFL and college.

“Lou possesses an outstanding football mind, and he was a terrific defensive coordinator on my staff for two years at UCLA,” Mora said. “The job Lou did for UConn football in 2021 was admirable and it’s clear that he has a passion for this team and a great relationship with our student-athletes.”

Spanos said he is looking forward to working with the team again and grateful to Mora for the opportunity.

“UConn is a special place, and my family and I could not be happier,” he said.

UConn finished this season at 1-11, including 1-9 under Spanos. The Huskies’ win was a 21-15 victory over instate rival Yale in October.

UConn hires former UCLA coach Jim Mora to lead Huskies

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

UConn on Thursday hired former UCLA coach Jim Mora, who also coached two NFL teams, to lead the Huskies.

The 59-year-old Mora has been out of coaching and working as a television analyst after spending six seasons (2012-17) leading UCLA to a 46-30 record.

“Jim is a proven winner, a man of integrity and he possesses the experience and energy to lead our football program back to success,” UConn athletic director David Benedict said in a statement.

Mora coached four seasons in the NFL, three with the Atlanta Falcons and one with the San Francisco 49ers, going 31-33. UConn has been searching for a head coach since Randy Edsall stepped down in September.

Mora and UConn agreed to a five-year deal that runs through the 2026 season, with a first-year salary of $1.5 million, according to the school’s announcement.

He will be added to the UConn staff immediately as an assistant coach, allowing him the ability to do some coaching in practice with the current players and, most importantly, to have full privileges in recruiting.

“This program is loaded with potential, and I look forward to getting to know the student-athletes on the team and am eager to get to work,” Mora said in a statement.

Mora’s father, also named Jim, was a head coach in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.

The Huskies are 1-8 in the their first season playing as an independent in football. After starting the season 0-2, Edsall, who was in his second stint leading the program, announced he would retire after this season.

A day later, it was announced Edsall would step down immediately and Lou Spanos took over as interim coach.

The Huskies football program has not had a winning season since 2010, reaching just one bowl game. The collapse of Big East football left UConn as a member of the American Athletic Conference and the football program was never able to find its footing in the AAC.

UConn made the decision to leave the AAC and return to the basketball-centric Big East in 2020, turning the football program into one of the few FBS independents.

Last year would have been UConn’s first season as an independent, but with the program in transition, the school canceled the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Huskies’ only victory this season has come against Yale from the Ivy League. UConn plays at Clemson this Saturday.