OPINION: House Speaker defends decision to support hiring of Randy Edsall’s son

OPINION: House Speaker defends decision to support hiring of Randy Edsall’s son

Questions surrounding the hiring of UConn football head coach Randy Edsall’s son Corey as an assistant coach have been in the news, as has my support for bipartisan legislation that clarified state law concerning family members working together. 

Obviously there is no stronger bond than the one between a parent and a child, and sons and daughters learning from and working together with their mothers and fathers is a wonderful, longstanding family tradition. From President Trump and his family in the White House, to my own son, Michael, assisting me with the Berlin High School football team, it is a relationship to celebrate. 

Prior to Randy Edsall’s hiring, UConn sought and received an advisory opinion from the Ethics Commission that gave the OK on the circumstances of bringing on a family member as part of the staff. Six months later, with Edsall now officially head coach, Ethics issued a subsequent and conflicting opinion. 

UConn, represented by the Attorney General, appealed that ruling, which is currently in court. The judge has allowed Corey to continue in his position while the case is pending. 

 After talking with coach Edsall at a high school awards banquet in January, also attended by Republican legislative leaders, we all felt the Ethics opinion conflicting with its earlier advisory opinion was both wrong and unfair. 

I offered to help and, after further discussion with my fellow leaders, we all agreed to support legislation clarifying state law concerning the ability for higher education employees’ immediate family members to work together. This included certain safeguards such as ensuring all decisions on compensation and promotion are made by non-family members. 

That bill unanimously passed the House of Representatives on May 4, the Senate on May 9, and was signed by the Governor on June 7. 

It is important to put this in context, in that it is current standard practice at UConn and other colleges to provide jobs for spouses of newly hired professors who move here from other states. This makes a lot of sense if you want to be able to attract high quality candidates to your campuses of higher education. 

In addition, sons working with their fathers is very common throughout college football. For example, UMass head coach Mark Whiple has his son on his coaching staff, and former UConn head coach Skip Holtz learned his trade under his father, the legendary Lou Holtz. 

Furthermore, Corey Edsall is well qualified for his position. He was on the University of Colorado football staff for the previous two years, and interned with New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles before that. He started as a student assistant with his dad at the University of Maryland. 

Randy Edsall is a good guy, who we are all rooting for to improve the competitiveness of our UConn Husky football program. I believe it is wrong to deny him the special opportunity to have his son be part of his dad’s team, and I was glad to help. 

State Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, is House Speaker.