On Wednesday night, UConn announced that long-time head coach Jim Calhoun was set to retire. An official press conference for the announcement was set up for Thursday at 2:00 p.m. EST.
While Calhoun’s decision comes near the midway point of the month of September, long-awaited rumors of a succession plan and who would replace the legendary head coach were also answered.
After meeting with school administrators on Wednesday night, UConn decided to extend a one-year contract offer to current assistant and former Huskies’ guard, Kevin Ollie. Ollie was the exact man that Calhoun had been very vocal about in the past in terms of taking over the Connecticut program.
Ollie, 39, played under Calhoun at UConn from 1991-1995 and despite being undrafted following his senior season, Ollie worked and emerged as a reliable back court NBA player, extending his professional career for 15 seasons.
Ollie bounced around from place to place throughout his NBA career, playing for 12 teams in his 15 seasons. Following a one-year stint with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2009-10 season, Ollie entered the realm of coaching, taking an assistant position under Calhoun prior to the start of the 2010-11 season.
Despite just two seasons of experience under his belt as an assistant, Ollie quickly became one of the hotter names, especially in terms of recruiting.
The one-year deal, worth $625,000, will put Ollie in charge of the Huskies for the 2012-13 season, a year in which UConn is banned from any postseason play due to low APR scores. The university will evaluate Ollie’s work after the season is complete and then make a new decision from there.
While the one-year run with a team that lost tons of talent from a season ago and cannot qualify for any postseason opportunities may seem like a tight spot for Ollie, the decision to name him as Calhoun’s replacement with practice less than one month away is the right move by Connecticut.
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