Before the 2 p.m. news conference at Gampel Pavillion in which Jim Calhoun will announce his retirement, UConn administrators have announced Huskies assistant Kevin Ollie will take over — for now.
Ollie, a two-time UConn captain who emerged from the now-defunct Continental Basketball Association to have a 13-year NBA career, has been strongly endorsed by Calhoun as the man to run the program for the long haul.
UConn has announced that Ollie will get a one-year contract as coach. It expires in April and he will be re-evaluated at the end of the year.
A Los Angeles native, Ollie is extremely popular among recruits, but has only two years of coaching experience, none as a head coach.
That begs the question: Is Ollie the right guy for UConn?
Unsurprisingly, Jim Calhoun’s expected retirement announcement dominated the front pages of state newspapers, nearly all of which have covered the Hall of Fame coach in one way or another for more than two decades.
Though there are other signature moments for which Jim Calhoun will be remembered — Tate George’s game-winner against Clemson during the Dream Season, any number of Ray Allen highlights — here’s a stat that’s nearly as central to his legacy as his 876 career wins: Calhoun coached in three national championship games and won all three of them.
That begs the question: Which of the three titles was your favorite?
There’s the 1999 title, UConn’s first, in which, as Khalid El Amin shouted into the camera: “We Shocked the World!”
There’s the 2004 rout over Georgia Tech, in which Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor carried the Huskies en route to being two of the top three picks in the NBA draft.
And of course, there’s the improbable 11-game winning streak in 2011, capped by a win over Butler in the title game.
UConn will host Syracuse, Louisville and Georgetown next year and will play Cincinnati, DePaul, Providence and South Florida twice, the Big East announced Thursday.
The conference, which announced each team’s home and away opponents, announced UConn will play home games against Cincinnati, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Providence, Rutgers, South Florida and Syracuse.
The Huskies will play away games at Cincinnati, DePaul, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Providence, Seton Hall and South Florida.
The UConn men will make their debut in the Jimmy V Classic Dec. 4 when the Huskies play NC State at Madison Square Garden.
The Huskies and Wolfpack will play at 9 p.m., following a game between Georgetown and Texas, ESPN announced Wednesday.
It’s the first meeting between UConn and NC State since the 10th-seeded Wolfpack ousted seconnd-seeded UConn 65-62 in the second round of the 2005 NCAA tournament in Worcester, Mass.
UConn had won two of the schools’ previous three meetings before that: A 77-74 win in the second round of the 2002 NCAA tournament and an 81-74 win in Raleigh in 1992-93.
The Wolfpack won the first meeting between the schools 60-59 at Gampel Pavilion in 1990-91 — NC State’s first season in a decade without coach Jim Valvano — the Jimmy V Classic’s namesake — on the sidelines.
STORRS, Conn. (April 5, 2012) — The University of Connecticut has been informed by the NCAA’s Committee on Academic Performance (CAP) that it has denied the school’s final appeal of a postseason ban on its men’s basketball team for the 2012-13 season because of the team’s past cumulative Academic Performance Rate (APR) scores.
“I want to be clear that everyone at UConn is and will always be committed to academic excellence for all of our student-athletes and in particular our men’s basketball players,” said UConn Director of Athletics Warde Manuel, a past member of the NCAA’s Academic Cabinet and Academic Eligibility and Compliance Committee. “Before we even began this appeal process, the University and its Division of Athletics began to implement changes that were designed to positively impact the academic performance of our men’s basketball student-athletes. We have and will continue to make adjustments designed to help these young men succeed.”
During the season that the UConn men’s basketball team won the NCAA national championship, the squad had a nearly-perfect 978 APR score in 2010-11. During the fall 2011 semester, the team had a perfect APR score. Connecticut’s other 23 athletic teams all have four-year APR scores that are above 945.
“While we as a University and coaching staff clearly should have done a better job academically with our men’s basketball student-athletes in the past, the changes we have implemented have already had a significant impact and have helped us achieve the success we expect in the classroom,” said men’s basketball Coach Jim Calhoun. “We will continue to strive to maintain that success as we move forward.”
The postseason ban that Connecticut faces in the 2012-13 season is the result of APR scores calculated over both a four-year and two-year period. For purposes of this ruling, the NCAA used the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years. At this point, the NCAA has decided to not use scores from the current 2011-12 academic year while considering postseason bans for 2012-13.
“When this change in legislation was adopted by the NCAA Board in October 2011 and made effective for the 2012-13 academic year, it gave the illusion that institutions had time to adjust to the legislation. Yet the data had already been submitted under a different penalty structure, one that would not have excluded our men’s basketball team from participating in the post-season,” said Manuel. “The approach to APR marks the first time in the history of the NCAA that it has ever implemented an academic rule significantly impacting current student-athletes without allowing the members time to adjust to the adoption of the legislation.
“In recent months, CAP chairperson and University of Hartford President Walter Harrison has been quoted as saying that CAP wanted to provide institutions with ‘a chance to adjust’. In actuality, these changes were a retroactive application of the rules. It remains the belief of the University of Connecticut that CAP and the Board of Directors should consider delaying the effective date of the implementation for all institutions to 2013-14, and/or use the APR scores from the 2011-12 academic year to determine postseason eligibility for the 2012-13 year.”
“I am very proud of our current men’s basketball student-athletes, who have worked hard in the classroom and enjoyed academic success,” said UConn President Susan Herbst. “It is disturbing that our current players must pay a penalty for the academic performance of students no longer enrolled. As I have said repeatedly, no educator or parent purposefully punishes young people for the failings of others.”
“UConn is a top 20 public research university and our current men’s basketball team meets the standards we have for our students. We will continue to support athletes the right way, and they will step up to the high level of performance demanded by our faculty.”
There’s no doubt yesterday’s UConn-West Virginia thriller was one of the most memorable games in the Huskies’ Big East tournament history.
There wasn’t a conference title on the line, but in a rarity for a UConn program unaccustomed to being on the Bubble, there may have been something more important at stake — a spot in the Field of 68.
That got us thinking: Which UConn Big East tournament game was the most memorable?
Was it a Ray Allen-led UConn team, boosted by freshman Ricky Moore’s 20 points, beating Allen Iverson-led Georgetown for the 1996 title? Donyell Marshall scoring a tournament record 42 points in 1994 against St. John’s? UConn being on the losing end of a six-overtime epic against Syracuse?
We came up with 10 nominations. Read through them and vote in the poll to pick the top one:
* The six-overtime game: UConn falls to Syracuse in an epic battle in the 2009 quarterfinals.
* Kemba Walker buries a step-back jumper at the buzzer to beat Pitt in last year’s quarterfinal, providing the signature moment in UConn’s improbable title run.
* Ben Gordon finishes the 2004 tournament with a then-record 80 points, leading UConn to a 61-58 win over Pitt in the title game and setting the stags for the Huskies’ second national title.
* Taliek Brown hits a 30-footer at the shot-clock buzzer to help send UConn past Pitt in the 2002 title game.
* The 1996 title game: Moore and Kirk King led the scoring attack for most of the game, and Ray Allen shot a wild, off-balance leaner that bounced around the rim and through the net as UConn outlasted the Hoyas for its second Big East championship.
* Marshall goes off for a record 42 points in the 1994 quarterfinal against St. John’s.
* The Beginning of an Era: Bridgeport’s Chris Smith, now the head
coach at Kolbe Cathedral, led UConn to a 78-75 victory over Syracuse in the 1990 Big East title game. It was the first of seven conference titles.
* McNamara burns Huskies: Five years before Kemba Walker propelled UConn
to the title, Gerry McNamara led the ninth-seeded Syracuse to an unlikely conference title of its own. McNamara led the Orange past UConn, 86-84, in the quarterfinals.
* Freeman wins MVP – Always regarded as an unsung hero, junior forward Kevin Freeman, now a member of the UConn coaching staff, was named the 1999 Big East tournament most valuable player. The Huskies routed St. John’s, 82-63, in the final.