SOCIAL RECAP OF CALHOUN'S RETIREMENT
STORRS, Conn. - Jim Calhoun, who took over a regional program at the University of Connecticut 26 years ago and built it into a three-time NCAA champion and a perennial national power, has announced his retirement as the UConn men's basketball coach.
'I always said that I would know when it was time, whenever that might be,' said Calhoun, who made the official announcement Thursday afternoon at a news conference at Gampel Pavilion on UConn's Storrs campus. 'The hip injury really didn't enter into the decision, except that it gave me more time to think about it and the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that this was the right time to move on to the next phase of my life.'
"The BIG EAST Conference congratulates Jim Calhoun on his Hall of Fame career,' said Commissioner Mike Aresco. 'His contributions to the University of Connecticut in basketball and to the University in general are enormous and lasting. He built and maintained an outstanding program for almost three decades. Jim has been a winner at the highest level during that period. His passion for the game and for his players has been unmatched. Jim Calhoun has always been proud to compete in the BIG EAST. We wish Jim and his wife Pat only the best in retirement."
"What Jim Calhoun built at Connecticut will be one of the lasting legacies of The BIG EAST Conference,' said Mike Tranghese, who served as BIG EAST commissioner from 1990-2009. 'He brought the UConn program from nothing to winning three national championships. I know he loved competing in the BIG EAST because he always wanted to go against the best. I think no one loved winning the BIG EAST Tournament in Madison Square Garden more than Jim Calhoun."
One of the best-known college coaches in the country, Calhoun leaves behind a legacy as a program-builder that is virtually unequaled in the history of college athletics.
In May 1986, following four consecutive losing seasons, UConn hired Calhoun, who had won 248 games and made five NCAA Tournament appearances in 14 years at Northeastern. After a nine-win campaign in his first year with the Huskies, Calhoun has put together 25-straight winning seasons and made UConn one of the nation's elite college basketball programs.
His phenomenal success story at UConn includes three NCAA championships (1999, 2004, 2011), one of just five coaches in history with three or more titles. Under Calhoun, the Huskies have also made four appearances in the Final Four (2009), nine trips to the Elite Eight and captured 13 berths in the Sweet 16 among 18 trips to the NCAA Tournament. He has also taken UConn to the NIT six times, winning the NIT championship in 1988, in just his second season at the helm.
In the BIG EAST Conference, Calhoun took the UConn program from mediocrity to dominance. The Huskies have won a record seven BIG EAST Tournament championships and 10 regular-season league titles. UConn is the only league team to ever sweep the BIG EAST regular-season and tournament crowns in back-to-back seasons (1997-98, 1998-99).
'Am I going to miss coaching basketball? Of course,' Calhoun said. 'But I'm making sure I get my fix by watching the workouts. I have no doubt that Kevin (new Head Coach Ollie) and the staff will do a great job.'
Calhoun's accomplishments brought him basketball's ultimate honor when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005. The following year, he was named as a member of the Founding Class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
His numerous awards include the prestigious John R. Wooden 'Legends of Coaching' Award in 2005, and he was the first BIG EAST coach to win the conference's Coach of the Year award four times (1989-90, `93-`94,' 95-`96, and `97-`98).
Calhoun's final record in 40 years as a head coach stands at 873-380, which ranks sixth on the all-time wins list, while his 1,253 games coached is third all-time. He is 625-243 at UConn, by far the school's winningest coach. Calhoun is 311-183 in BIG EAST competition, second in all-time wins, and his 35-19 record in the BIG EAST tourney also ranks second all-time.
Nationally, the Huskies' coach has eight 30-win seasons, third all-time, and he ranks sixth all-time with 25 20-win seasons. Calhoun is fourth all-time with 49 NCAA Tournament wins (49-18). His overall national postseason record is 62-20 with four championships (3 NCAA, 1 NIT).
Calhoun's greatest legacy, however, might well be the UConn players and coaches he has developed. He has had 27 players drafted by the NBA, including 18 first-round picks, and 13 of those have been lottery picks. Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Caron Butler, and Cliff Robinson have been All-Star selections, while Allen, Hamilton, Scott Burrell, and Travis Knight own NBA championship rings.
Under Calhoun, UConn has had seven players named BIG EAST Player of the Year, six players named Most Outstanding Player of the BIG EAST Championship, seven players named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, five named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. He has coached 20 BIG EAST first team all-stars, 20 second-team all-stars, 20 third team all-stars and three honorable mentions. Center Emeka Okafor was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American and was named the 2004 CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year.
Calhoun's coaching tree currently includes five Division I head coaches: Howie Dickenman (Central Conn.), Mike Jarvis (Florida Atlantic), Tom Moore (Quinnipiac), Steve Pikiell (Stony Brook), and Ted Woodward (Maine). Former assistant Dave Leitao, and current UConn assistants Glen Miller and Karl Hobbs have also been successful head coaches at the Division I level.
'Coaching at UConn has just been phenomenal, there's no other way to describe it,' Calhoun said. 'I will always be grateful to the University of Connecticut. When I look back and see what we were able to accomplish here, I am extremely proud.'