Calhoun set to step down at UConn
Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2012 7:00 pm
By JIM O’CONNELL
College Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Calhoun has spent more than half his life as a head basketball coach, never venturing far from the New England area where he was born.
Between coaching stints at Northeastern and Connecticut, he racked up 873 wins — 625 of them coming at his beloved UConn, where he ran the men’s program for 26 years and won three national titles.
Recently, though, the 70-year-old Hall of Famer has struggled with health problems, including a fractured hip last month that put him on crutches. Today, he planned to announce his retirement, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because Calhoun’s move had not yet been made public. WVIT-TV in Hartford first reported the expected announcement.
Assistant coach Kevin Ollie was expected to replace Calhoun, the person who spoke to the AP said. The school scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference “to address the future of the men’s basketball program.”
Ollie will take over a Huskies team that is ineligible for the 2013 NCAA tournament because of its failure to meet national academic standards, one of several off-court problems that hit UConn late in Calhoun’s tenure.
The Huskies will open this year with just five players who saw significant playing time last season.
Before fracturing his hip, Calhoun fought off cancer three times and missed eight games last season while suffering from a painful spinal condition. He returned just four days after having back surgery to coach the Huskies in their regular-season finale and the postseason.
UConn finished the year 20-14, losing to Iowa State in the first-round of the NCAA tournament.
In addition to his medical leave, Calhoun served a three-game suspension at the start of the Big East season last winter for failing to maintain an atmosphere of compliance in his program with NCAA rules, an issued that dated back to recruiting violations in 2008.
A native of Braintree, Mass., Calhoun played college basketball at American International in Springfield, where he was a team captain and leading scorer his junior and senior years.
After graduating in 1968, he began his head coaching career at Old Lyme High school, before moving back to Massachusetts where he coached at Westport High School and then Dedham High School.
He led Dedham to a 21-1 record in 1972, and was hired as head coach at Northeastern.
Calhoun spent the next 14 years at the school, leading the team from Division II program, to a mid-major power with five appearances in the NCAA tournament.
Calhoun was then hired by UConn in May 1986 and won an NIT title in his second season. His teams won 10 Big East regular-season championships and seven Big East Tournament titles over his tenure.
Published in The Messenger 9.13.12