Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun, 70, steps down at UConn

Stage Is Set For Jim Calhoun Exit, Kevin Ollie Entrance - CTnow

Coach Calhoun waves farewell as new coach Kevin Ollie looks on. 
Three NCAA championships at a cow college in the hills of eastern Connecticut. He's done as much as anyone to improve the campus over the last quarter century, and by extension, the experience of all the students at UConn. He helped put Storrs on the map.

He's not the coach you look back on and say, "In a dirty business, he was a paragon who held his players to higher standard," maybe athletically, but probably not academically, and in some troubled times, not even in terms of character, though the characters that besmirched the reputation of his program ("Laptop!") should never detract from the legacies of players of like Emeka Okafor and Ray Allen, among others, who excelled beyond the court. I'm glad to see Kevin Ollie, one of Calhoun's best guards -- and that's an elite group -- assume the mantle; it must make Coach tremendously proud to be able to pass the baton to one his young men. That's a pride he's earned.

Calhoun's support of cancer research may be as much a part of his legacy as his legendary coaching achievements. I have friends expressing personal gratitude to him for his work to fight that dreaded disease because his efforts are helping them in their own battles against it. We can't thank him enough for that.

You know, it's amazing how lucky we Huskies have had it. As we celebrate the career of Jim Calhoun, it probably hasn't escaped the notice of many that he was actually the second best coach at UConn behind the man hired to coach the women a year before he arrived. I say that not to detract to Calhoun's accomplishments, only a statement of fact.

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