In the midst of the Big East announcing the departure of Notre Dame from its conference, another announcement was set to be made that would not only shake up the conference, but shock the basketball community at all levels.
After 40 seasons as a head coach, Jim Calhoun is ready to retire according to multiple reports. A press conference is scheduled for later today at 2 p.m. where an official announcement of retirement is expected from the Hall of Fame coach.
Calhoun, a native of Braintree, Mass., has been battling health issues the past couple years, to go along with academic troubles , that will ban the UCONN Huskies from appearing in any post season play this year.
The Huskies suffered a major blow when sophomore guard, Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond declared for the 2012 NBA Draft to go along with the departure, Alex Oriakhi who was expected to provide senior leadership, sophomore, Roscoe Smith and freshman center, Michael Bradley also decided to transfer.
Calhoun, a three time cancer survivor, whose health conditions may have taken him away from the game, temporarily, always made his way back to the sidelines. These actions lead me to believe that Calhoun would never leave the coaching ranks unless he was dragged out kicking and screaming. This type of passion for the game helped Calhoun collect 873, 7 Big East tournament titles, 9 Big East Regular Season titles, and 3 National Titles.
Although, it’ll be tough to fill the void and shoes of Jim Calhoun, UCONN is ready to announce Kevin Ollie as the next Head Coach of the Huskies. Ollie has made a name on the recruiting front as one of the top recruiters on the rise. Class of 2013 power forward, Kentan Facey and guard, Terrance Samuel recently gave UCONN verbal commitments. The hiring of Ollie may persuade the two, top 100 prospects to stay committed to UCONN. But in reality, every kid who commits to play for UCONN wants to play for Calhoun, so it will be tough to convince kids to not transfer, and to not pull out of their commitment.
If Ollie is hired as the next coach of the UCONN Huskies, who he has on his coaching staff will be critical to the program moving forward. UCONN currently has 3 former head coaches as assistants on staff; hiring one of them could be a possibility also.
I can’t picture Calhoun just retiring and being away from the game forever. I expect him to be upbeat and involved with basketball in some shape of form.
Junior, Shabazz Napier and sophomore, Ryan Boatright are expected to take on the leadership roles for UCONN. Look for freshman, Omar Calhoun and sophomore forward, Deandre Daniels to have a major impact this upcoming season.
photo courtesy of: blogs.courant.com