Bob Diaco excited for opportunity at UConn

Bob Diaco excited for opportunity at UConn
December 12, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Pavlov's dog, "energy vampires," Hartford's airport, Garth Brooks and a St. Augustine quote in Latin.

Bob Diaco's introductory press conference at UConn covered quite a few topics, including football, believe it or not.

[RELATED: UConn hires Notre Dame's Bob Diaco as head coach]

Diaco credited Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly -- who he called "my greatest boss" with letting him in on some high-level meetings to get a feel for what life is like as a head coach. And while he enjoyed his time at Notre Dame, the opportunity for a head coaching job was too great to pass up.

"I have such affinity and such a strong place in my heart that will never go away for Notre Dame," Diaco said. "It's a beautiful place to work. And the people that work there are so special. And the university and my DNA are very commonly linked. With that said, it was not a challenge at all. It wasn't even for a second."

[MORE: Tommy Rees still unsure of what lies ahead]

In a statement released to the media prior to Diaco's press conference, Kelly said:

"Connecticut hired the perfect man to lead their football program into the future. Bob Diaco possesses every characteristic necessary to be successful. He’s a top-notch recruiter, tremendous leader of young men and brilliant coach.

"Bob was arguably the top coordinator in the country as demonstrated by our defense over the last few years. He played an immense role that ultimately helped our program reach four consecutive bowl games, including the 2013 BCS National Championship game."

Kelly announced Thursday Kerry Cooks will be the team's interim defensive coordinator for Notre Dame's Pinstripe Bowl date with Rutgers. Cooks has served as Notre Dame's co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach.

[RELATED: Winning not the only focus for Irish in Pinstripe Bowl preparations]

While UConn reportedly went after Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi before Diaco -- Narduzzi turned the job down -- Diaco said he didn't care, referring to himself as the "562nd" best living coach. But taking a head coaching position was something he felt prepared for after four years as Notre Dame's defensive coordinator.

"My sphere of influence was, say, 60, 65, 70 (players)," Diaco said. "I'm looking forward to that doubling. I'm looking forward to that going to 140, 150. I'm ready for that, and I'm excited for it."