Former UConn football star named assistant principal at Illing Middle School in Manchester

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Oct. 4, 2013
Uyi Osunde was a tri-captain of the UConn football team his senior season in 2003. Contributed by the University of Connecticut. - Contributed Photo

Former University of Connecticut football star Uyi Osunde has been named the new assistant principal at Illing Middle School. “We are very pleased to welcome Mr. Osunde to the administrative team,” said Interim Superintendent Richard Kisiel. “He will be a positive role model for our middle school students.”

Osunde attended UConn as an undergraduate from 1999 to 2003 and was a tri-captain of the football team his senior season. The 6-foot, 4-inch defensive end compiled some very impressive stats in his final season where he was second in the nation in tackle for losses, with 24.5, and was in the top 15 in the nation for sacks, with 11.  He graduated in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in psychology.

“Coming out of college, I actually had a very high draft grade,” said Osunde.  “I was one of the biggest NFL prospects coming out of UConn in probably about a decade.”

Osunde put up solid numbers during his senior season despite playing with an injury sustained in the first game of the 2003 season.
“Opening up the stadium at Rentschler Field, I took a helmet to the knee and there was fluid in my knee all year,” said Osunde. “So I had a choice to either have surgery right away and red-shirt - but I did not want to red-shirt because I just got done red-shirting - or play the season,” said Osunde who elected to play the season and have surgery in the post-season to repair the knee.

The surgery kept him out of the post-season All-Star games he was invited to. He attended the NFL combine but he wasn’t able to do anything physical except the bench press because that was just upper body. Osunde said he interviewed well at the combine but he got “red-flagged on the medicals because the surgery was still so fresh, so I fell out of the draft.”

He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns and spent a year with them on the practice squad before signing with the Buffalo Bills and was on the practice squad in Buffalo when he got injured again, this time rupturing a disc in his back. “Injury has been my Achilles heel,” said Osunde.

So he returned to the classroom and earned his master's degree in education psychology from UConn, and he completed his practicum work in Manchester public schools. He worked at the high school for his first year of his practicum and then was at Nathan Hale and Washington elementary schools for his second year.

“The kids that I worked with are now my eighth-graders,” said Osunde. 

Following graduation, he worked as a counselor in the New London school district from 2008 to 2010 and with East Hartford High School from 2010 until last month. 

Osunde completed his certification requirements for an intermediate administrator from Southern Connecticut State University. He is also an assistant coach with the EHHS football team, and will honor his commitment as a coach for the remainder of the season.

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