UConn coach Jim Calhoun retiring; Former OKC Thunder player Kevin Ollie to be named Huskies' coach
HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun has decided to retire and former Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Ollie will be replacing him
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Calhoun, a 70-year-old Hall of Famer, scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. Thursday 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.
Ollie, a UConn assistant coach who played for Calhoun and was his hand-picked successor, will be introduced as the Huskies' new coach. The person familiar with the deal said Ollie will receive a one-year contract.
Ollie played for the Thunder during the 2009-10 season.
Calhoun racked up 873 collegiate wins — 625 of them at his beloved UConn, where he ran the men's program for 26 years and won three national titles.
Recently, though, Calhoun has struggled with health problems, including a fractured hip that required surgery and left him on crutches after a bicycle accident last month.
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. Ollie is one of more than two dozen players whom Calhoun sent to the NBA, a list that also includes Ben Gordon, Kemba Walker, Rudy Gay and Emeka Okafor.
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 because of 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 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 coaching in high school in Connecticut and Massachusetts, he was hired to coach Northeastern in 1972.
Calhoun spent the next 14 years at the school, transforming the team from Division II program to a mid-major power with five appearances in the NCAA tournament.
Calhoun was 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.
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