Both coaches have won multiple national championships. Both have been an iconic figure at their respective schools. Both went out on a sour note with scandal surrounding their program. And both dealt with health problems near the end of their career.
But make no mistake: Jim Calhoun and Joe Paterno are not comparable.
Let me preface this by saying that I’ve yet to see anyone mention these two in the same sentence. However, with the power of social media, people have the freedom to say what they want without any consequences.
And, of course, there’s the fact that the scandals are on completely different levels. Paterno did nothing when young boys were being sexually assaulted by a Penn St. employee. Calhoun’s players had below-standard academic results.
What I’m trying to say is, we need to let Calhoun end his career on a high note. The man won three national championships, one being two years ago. He has a .697 winning percentage with the Connecticut Huskies. He deserves to be honored as one of the great coaches in NCAA history.
When judging Calhoun, we must look at his situation with the glass half full. While I’m not excusing the poor grades of the Connecticut players, that seems very minor when put next to the Jerry Sandusky scandal. And Calhoun is leaving due to health problems, which he has fought for quite some time now. It’s not like he’s pulling a Bobby Petrino and quitting on his team when the going gets tough.
Don’t get me wrong, the Huskies will struggle mightily without Calhoun. They’ve lost a handful of players, will be banned from the postseason this year, and showed last season that when Calhoun isn’t running the show, they’re not the same team.
In an era where head coaches seem to be turning human in front of our eyes, Calhoun shouldn’t be condemned. Sure, it may be a blemish on his record, but the overall resume is extremely impressive. I hope people understand this and celebrate Calhoun for his prestigious career.
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