Ollie highlights coaching changes
by Jack Carey, USA TODAY Sports
Connecticut has won three men’s national championships since 1999. The Huskies aren’t leaving for another conference, at least not yet, but they won’t be cutting down any nets this spring. They will, however, have to get used to a new boss on the bench.
UConn has been banned from the NCAA tournament this season because of subpar Academic Progress Rate scores. Connecticut became the first team from one of the six major conferences to face a postseason ban in men’s basketball or football because of its APR scores.
The Huskies fell below the mandated cut line of 900 on their rolling four-year scores. The APR measures the classroom performance of every Division I team and whether teams can retain academically eligible players from year to year. The data for this year calculated rates from 2007-08 through 2010-11.
The offcourt upheaval for the Huskies continued in September when Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun announced his retirement after 26 years at the school and the three national titles.
Calhoun will be replaced by former assistant Kevin Ollie, an ex-UConn player, who got a one-year contract.
Calhoun, 70, broke his hip in a bicycle crash in August and had surgery, the latest in a series of health issues that the coach faced in his last few years with the Huskies. Calhoun broke several ribs in another bike accident during a charity ride in 2009. He also has battled skin cancer and prostate cancer and missed eight games last season because of back problems. He had a 40-year head coaching career overall, including a stint at Northeastern, and had 873 career wins, sixth most among Division I men’s coaches.
Calhoun will take a transition appointment through next spring as a special assistant to athletics director Warde Manuel, and the school will name him head coach emeritus when he is fully retired.
George Blaney, who has served as Calhoun’s top assistant for the last 11 seasons, says he plans to stay on as associate head coach. Blaney had been acting head coach in Calhoun’s absence on several occasions.
Meanwhile, Ollie, despite the lack of a long-term deal, says he’s up to the … [For more on Ollie, replacing Calhoun, highlights coaching changes, click here.]