Earlier this month, UConn officials announced with great fanfare the hiring of new football coach Paul Pasqualoni after Randy Edsall left for Maryland. Now it seems that the wheels have come off the fundraising bus as the football program’s biggest benefactor, the Burton family of Greenwich, wants its money back and completely cut off further donations to the football program, according to The Day of New London.
Robert Burton wrote a letter to Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway hammering him on several fronts. Copies of the letter, obtained by The Day, were sent to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, incoming president Susan Herbst and Lawrence D. McHugh, the chairman of the UConn Board of Trustees. Burton wants his $3 million that paid for the Burton Family Football Complex and his family’s name off the facility.
Burton’s letter informs Hathaway, “The primary reason [former coach] Randy [Edsall] took another job is because he couldn’t work with you…You are not qualified to be a Division I AD and I would have fired you a long time ago. You do not have the skills to manage and cultivate new donors.”
The Day reports that Burton has decided:
•The family will not pay for its $50,000-per-year luxury suite at Rentschler Field. “You already have many other empty boxes at Rentschler. My box will just join the list,” Burton wrote.
• The family will not purchase an $8,000 advertisement on the inside cover of the football program.
• All remaining scholarship dollars, including “the current balance” earmarked for football, will be transferred to the business school.
• The family will stop its $20,000 annual donation for a summer coaching clinic and plans to make no future donations to UConn.
• The family, which used the UConn business school to help “train our first line managers” for its business, will use the Syracuse University business school instead.
The Day reports that UConn disputes Burton’s main complaint that he was kept “out of the loop” in the selection of a new coach.