Connecticut Huskies head coach Jim Calhoun reacts on the sidelines during the 2012 Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. Assistant coach Kevin Ollie (bottom center) looks on from the bench (Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE).
The future of the Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team may have better definition this week. The Hartford Courant today cited the Huskies' Hall of Fame head coach Jim Calhoun as saying an announcement is expected "around the end of the college basketball season."
Speculation is that UConn may institute a coach-in-waiting arrangement, with assistant Kevin Ollie officially designated to take the reins from Calhoun in the foreseeable future.
Ollie played four years at UConn under Calhoun (1991-95). He had a 16-year journeyman's career in the pros, playing briefly in the CBA and then for a dozen different NBA teams. He joined Calhoun's staff two seasons ago.
According to the Courant:
For the sake of recruiting, some resolution that gives the program an appearance of stability needs to come soon.
The coach-in-waiting issue appears to be front and center on the desk of new athletic director Warde Manuel, who was in New Orleans at the men's Final Four early this weekend, with plans to head to Denver for the Women's Final Four on Sunday. Calhoun did not go to New Orleans, but is out of town with his wife this weekend. Assistant coach Glen Miller and director of basketball administration Karl Hobbs went to the Final Four.
UConn's coaches, including Calhoun, who turns 70 in May, clearly desire the coach-in-waiting concept.
Kevin Ollie would fill that role. Manuel, school insiders say, is lukewarm to the idea at best, and at worst with no interest in doing it. When Manuel was hired on Feb. 13, he said Calhoun would have "significant input" into the naming of his successor when the time came. It was briefly discussed when Manuel began the job in mid-March, and figures to be discussed again this week.
The Huskies are facing NCAA sanctions that could keep the team from postseason play next season due to past academic deficiencies.
Calhoun has coached UConn for 26 seasons, where he has three NCAA championships, an NIT championship and seven Big East championships. He has more than 800 career victories, including a previous head coaching stint at Northeastern. Calhoun has missed time during the last several seasons, including the entire month of February 2012, due to health issues.