UConn athletic director David Benedict may opt to fire head men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie by Monday as the Huskies just wrapped up a highly disappointing 14-18 campaign. It was the second straight below-.500 finish for UConn.
Ollie called the season “unacceptable” at a press conference following his team’s 80-73 first round loss to SMU in the AAC tournament.
“I want to assess everything I’m doing as a coach and see how I can get better,” Ollie said (via the Orlando Sentinel). “We don’t want to be 14-18. We have to get better in every category.”
Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun, who was replaced by Ollie in 2012, has been itching to get back into the coaching game for the past several years and could offer Benedict a short-term replacement that would surely get the thumbs up from aggravated alumni.
Calhoun remains a “special assistant to the director of athletics” at UConn but that contract expires on March 20. Calhoun has been helping build the St. Joseph’s Div. III basketball team in recent months and had this to say to The Register Citizen’s Owen Canfield just this week: “My wife Pat has told her friends,’Some women worry that their husbands have a mistress. Jim has one but I don’t worry because it’s not a 5-8 blonde, it’s a basketball.’ She’s very encouraging.”
Calhoun will turn 76 in May, but he surely looks at rival and friend Jim Boeheim (73) still going strong at Syracuse and gets envious.
Calhoun is building St. Joseph’s with the help of former UConn assistant Glen Miller, who was fired by Ollie last year.
An ESPN.com story from last month regarding Ollie’s future contained the following, citing a rift between Calhoun and Ollie.
“As [the Miller firing] played out, Ollie lost his connection to Calhoun, the program’s all-time icon and someone who could help Ollie’s cause on a number of fronts,” the Jeff Goodman piece said. “Those close to the situation told ESPN that Ollie’s relationship with Calhoun has been ‘fractured.’ The two have spoken more recently, but there was a long stretch when Ollie rarely reached out to Calhoun.”
Benedict brought back former head football coach Randy Edsall to stabilize the program in December 2016. He could very well do the same for the men’s basketball program in the coming days by re-hiring Calhoun.