Grading Kevin Ollie’s First Season as Head Coach of the Connecticut Huskies
Kevin Ollie picked up a floundering Connecticut Huskies program right before the season began in September 2012. He barely had two months with players before he had to coach his first game. Yet the Huskies still got an upset win against Michigan State. Ollie has had a great first season as coach of UConn.
There is nothing more difficult in the NCAA than coaching a team that knows that whatever it does this season will not be rewarded in the end. Still, Ollie got his team to compete in the Big East, and Connecticut would be on the bubble if they were eligible for post-season play.
Ollie coached this team to wins over No. 6 Syracuse and No. 17 Notre Dame with a majority of starters being freshman and sophomores, and the team being led by an injury prone Junior, Shabazz Napier. Although Connecticut is on a three game losing streak, UConn fought hard against Georgetown to lose in overtime and only lost by five to Cincinnati.
However, next season the Huskies return all starters. Returning a team that competed in the Big East even without the hope of post-season play will make Connecticut an immediate contender for the Big East regular season title. Ollie’s team will come back next season strong and ready to play – don’t be surprised if they make it into the top 25 early on in the 2013-2014 season. Ollie is a good coach and deserves his 5 year contract. The Huskies will only continue to get better under his coaching guidance.