Everything comes to an end. Nothing is forever. Nothing.
The writing has been on the wall for a while, and it was finally announced Wednesday that hall of famer Jim Calhoun will retire as UConn head basketball coach.
I spent four of the greatest years of my life roaming the campus of the University of Connecticut and am from the Nutmeg State. Being a basketball junkie from Connecticut, means you have to follow UConn hoops. Especially if you went to school there.
UConn basketball’s history is really only about 22 years old or so, and it all happened primarily under Jim Calhoun. I couldn’t even tell you who his predecessor was. He took an unknown program and made it arguably the best in the nation for a period of time, while winning three NCAA titles along the way.
The thing I will always admire about Calhoun is his uncanny ability to get marginal big men drafted. Hilton Armstrong and Hasheem Thabeet were both lottery picks. And Josh Boone was also a first rounder. He squeezes every bit of effort out of his guys. The proof is that the aforementioned are fringe NBA players, if they’re even still in the League.
But I definitely think it’s time for him to step down. He has battled cancer, recently broke his hip in a bike accident, the program is ineligible for post-season play next year because of academics (which I hold Calhoun partly responsible for), seemingly half the team has transferred, and the Big East has become a joke. All of those factors make this a transitional year for UConn basketball and is why I think the timing is perfect for Calhoun, who is 70 by the way. However, with this news comes the realization that the program will be down for 2-3 years. Until they make that inevitable and necessary move to the ACC, the program will suffer.
Early reports indicate that former Husky and NBAer, Kevin Ollie, will serve as Calhoun’s successor. I love the idea of keeping it in the family.
Kevin Burke of The Kevin Burke Project brings provocative, thought provoking content about basketball as only he can. Kevin also hosts The Hoop Doctors weekly podcast show, which you can subscribe to for free on iTunes. Follow Kevin on Twitter and Facebook