Jim Calhoun retired yesterday after 26 years as the head basketball coach at the University of Connecticut. Calhoun won 873 games and three national titles as a college head coach.
Former Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kevin Ollie is set to replace Calhoun as Connecticut’s new head coach. Ollie was hired as an assistant at UConn back in 2010 and played for Calhoun from 1991-1995.
Ollie spent 13 seasons in the NBA playing his last season for the Thunder in 2009-10 at the age of 37. He played in 25 games that season and averaged 10.5 minutes and 1.8 points per game.
Ollie was thought very highly of by Thunder GM Sam Presti who reportedly wanted to keep him in OKC badly after he retired. Ollie could have been on the “coaching fast track” in the NBA or part of the front office in OKC had he wanted to.
Ollie should thrive as the new coach at UConn though despite the big shoes he has to fill.
“Three years ago, Ollie worked the National Basketball Players Association Camp as part of a program designed for NBA players transitioning from their playing careers to coaching careers,” ESPN’s Dave Telep writes. “For three years, I watched pro players come through the program. Ollie was the best I’d seen. No one else took notes on the kids or went out of his way to put an arm around someone who needed a boost, and nobody was more genuinely interested than Ollie.”