Connecticut’s Calhoun expected to announce retirement
Legendary Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun is expected to announce his retirement at a press conference on Thursday, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.
Huskies assistant coach Kevin Ollie is expected to replace Calhoun as head coach, according to the reports. Calhoun has suffered from health issues in recent years, but he is leaving the program with two years remaining on his contract.
He underwent back surgery on Feb. 27 and returned for the late part of the Huskies’ 2011-12 season. UConn lost to Syracuse in the Big East tournament quarterfinals before falling to Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
His latest health setback came in August when he fractured his hip in a bicycle accident. A three-time cancer survivor, he missed eight games last season while he recovered from a spinal condition.
The 70-year-old Calhoun guided the Huskies to four Final Fours and three national championships. Calhoun won 873 games in his 40-year head coaching career, which began at Northeastern.
Calhoun became UConn’s head coach in 1986 after coaching Northeastern for 14 seasons. While at Northeastern, he oversaw the transition of the program from Division II to Division I.
He started his coaching career in the high school ranks. His first job was at Old Lyme High School in Connecticut, and he also coached at Massachusetts schools Westport High School and Dedham High School.
In Calhoun’s 26 years at UConn, the Huskies also won 10 Big East regular-season championships and took the Big East tournament title seven times.
He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim spoke at an SU event on Wednesday and lauded Calhoun’s accomplishments.
“I believe that Jim Calhoun has done the best job building a program in college basketball,” Boeheim said, according to the SUinDC Twitter account.
Calhoun’s departure is another blow to the storied program.
The NCAA conducted a 15-monthlong investigation into the program that ended in 2010. It found that Connecticut committed eight major violations, including reaching out to recruits and offering them improper benefits.
Further controversy struck the program when Connecticut was ruled ineligible for the 2013 NCAA tournament because of low academic progress rate scores. Calhoun also served a three-game suspension at the start of the Huskies’ Big East schedule last season because he did not maintain an “atmosphere of compliance.”
Ollie takes over a team that saw Alex Oriakhi, Roscoe Smith and Michael Bradley transfer while Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond left for the NBA following the postseason ban.
With Calhoun’s retirement, a long chapter in the history of UConn basketball is closed.
“Connecticut basketball will never be the same,” Boeheim said Wednesday night, according to the SUinDC Twitter account.
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