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UConn Students Share Thoughts On Coach Calhoun's Retirement [Video]

After 26 years as head coach of UConn men's basketball, Jim Calhoun is retiring.

 

Jim Calhoun officially announced his retirement Thursday as head coach of the  's men's basketball team.

“I always said that I would know when it was time, whenever that might be,” said Calhoun, in a prepared statement. “The hip injury really didn’t enter into the decision, except that it gave me more time to think about it and the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that this was the right time to move on to the next phase of my life," he said.

Over on the Storrs campus, students reacted to the news.

“I’m actually a little surprised of it,” said UConn senior Lisette Espinal, of Waterbury. “I wasn’t even aware he was retiring,” she said.

Calhoun, 70, finishes his career with 873 career wins, and three national titles in 1999, 2004 and 2011.

“He made my freshmen experience totally different when we won the national championship,” Christy Barre, a junior from Fairfield said. “It was a blast. I was really happy to be a part of UConn then.”

Calhoun will continue with the university as a Special Assistant to Athletic Director Warde Manuel, university officials said Thursday.

Upon his full retirement in March of 2013, Calhoun will become Head Coach Emeritus, the university said.

Kevin Ollie, a former UConn student-athlete and men's basketball assistant coach for the past two seasons, has been named the new head coach - the 18th in UConn history.

“I am very honored and humbled to become the UConn men’s basketball coach,” Ollie said in a prepared statement Thursday. “I cannot put into words how grateful I am to Coach Jim Calhoun, who retires today as one of the most legendary coaches in the history of college basketball. Coach Calhoun brought me here to Connecticut as a person right out of high school and has mentored me into the person I have become today."

UConn students seemed pleased with the news.

“I don’t think the program will skip a beat,” said freshmen Owen McMahon, of Thomaston.

Although students appeared to have confidence in Ollie, many said the absence of Calhoun would take some getting used to.

“[Calhoun] was definitely an asset to the UConn team,” Alexis Ruiz, a senior from Bergenfield, NJ, said. “He contributed a lot,” she said.

“He was a phenomenal, phenomenal coach and it’s a shame to see him go,” David Friedman, a junior from Dix Hills, New York, said.

What is your favorite Jim Calhoun moment? Tell us in the comments!

Martin Shapiro September 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Should have tossed in the towel after the 2011 miracle. Leave on a high note. Ollie already named? He has no head coaching experience, even in the lower divisions. I would have taken a harder look at Glenn Millier. He has a winning record at two (?) Div 1 Schools as Head Coach. URI & Brown. Time will tell?
Paul September 14, 2012 at 12:42 PM
That's why it's only a 1 year contract for Ollie. The AD said at the press conference that he has 1 year to show he's got what it takes. And with them not going to post season, there's not much to lose this season. Plus Calhoun pushed for Ollie because he's a Uconn guy and he knows the system that Calhoun built.
Martin Shapiro September 14, 2012 at 12:55 PM
@ Paul. Thanks, I hadn't put all that together. I had been calling to give Calhoun the 'Torre' treatment for the past five or six years. :-)

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