Updated: Huskies add Kermit Buggs to staff

Former Penn State assistant Kermit Buggs was named the running backs coach and special teams coordinator for the Huskies on Wednesday.

John F. Silver

Former Penn state secondary coach Kermit Buggs will join the UConn staff as running backs coach and special teams coordinator the university announced on Wednesday.

Buggs was a member of the Penn State staff from 2003-11 and was an assistant coach from 2007-11.

He left Penn State after Bill O’Brien took over and spent the last year as the defensive coordinator for Lock Haven University last year.

Penn State was still playing Buggs last season and instead of sitting on the couch, he volunteered to run the defense at Lock Haven.

“Penn State afforded me opportunity to sit out for a year, John Allen, the coach at Lock Haven worked with us at Penn State, he got head job and gave me a chance to be a coordinator again and be in charge of things,” Buggs said Wednesday. “I wanted to take that opportunity. Penn State was paying me so I could volunteer. It was a chance for me to learn again.”

Buggs coached at Surry County High in  Virginia and was 34-14 in four years (1999-2002) including a 14-0 record in 1999. A former quarterback at Norfolk State, Buggs coached running backs as a graduate assistant from 2003-05 and served as a coordinator of player development at Penn State  before becoming an assistant to Joe Paterno  in 2007-11 as a defensive backs coach.

He returns to coaching the offense at UConn.


“When i was at Norfolk State I was a quarterback and coached offense all my life,” Buggs said. “Switching to defense was new to me; it’s coming back home for me. That’s a great thing and another opportunity to get back to offense and to work on special teams likes I did at Penn State. I played quarterback, offense is what I do, when I was head coach at Surry County I called my own offense. Offense is home to me.”

The Huskies’ running back situation remains precarious after a season of disappointment where the unit ranked 118th in rushing out of 120 FBS teams. While a lot of that is due to yards lost in sacks, incumbent Lyle McCombs struggled at points during his sophomore season. McCombs rushed for 860 yards –78.6 per game — down from 1,151 yards as a freshman and 96 yards a game.  The Huskies also have Max DeLorenzo, a player Buggs recruited out of Berlin, as well as Joe Williams and Martin Hyppolite at running back.

UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoini has used McCombs as a work-horse, but Buggs would like to see a change of pace if he had his way.

“You save yourself a little bit,” Buggs said. “Even change of tempo guy or even two speed guys. I will be looking at getting two to go in each game. “
The Huskies hired offensive coordinator T.J. Weist on Tuesday and add Buggs to the staff as it continues to re-tool. There are other moves to be made with Matt Cersosimo likely headed to coach the secondary as Weist takes over at wide receivers coach in addition to his coordinator duties.

The Huskies also have yet to name a defensive coordinator to replace the departed Don Brown, who left for Boston College.

Buggs takes over the position vacated by Clayton White, who took an assistant coach job with N.C. State, his alma mater.  Buggs has strong ties to the Virginia high school football and was 34-14 in four years as a high school coach in

Here’s the full release from UConn: