Only three years after Jim Calhoun climbed a ladder and cut down the net in the NCAA tournament with his UCONN Huskies, his successor UCONN head coach Kevin Ollie did the same thing this past Sunday afternoon in this year’s Elite 8. Ollie’s Huskies defeated Michigan State 60-54 to advance to the Final Four this Saturday in North Texas where they will play the number 1 seeded Florida Gators.
With Calhoun watching on form the stands in Madison Square Garden as his former team rolled on to the Final Four, it was a very special moment for both him and head coach Kevin Ollie. The Student becoming the teacher. That’s why there has been such a mixed reaction to this morning’s big announcement that no one was expecting.
Kevin Ollie will be handing over the team to Jim Calhoun this Saturday for the Final Four game against the Florida Gators. Ollie said, “This season has been a truly special one so far. I love this group of guys more than anything, but there is someone I love even more and that’s my hero and mentor, Jim Calhoun. Cals taught me the way, and I just feel like he should get one more shot at this. A legendary coach like Jim deserves to go out with one more Final Four appearance, and hopefully, a win.”
When asked if in the event of a win on Saturday would he also let Calhoun coach the Championship game? Ollie said, “Well let’s not get crazy. He can have his moment this weekend, then I’m jumping back in the drivers seat to finish this thing out.” Calhoun seemed a little indifferent about the whole thing saying, “This is a once in a lifetime offer that I clearly could not pass up, but it will feel a little odd being out there again. Let’s just hope Shabazz catches fire again, right?”
We decided to head up to the UCONN campus in Storrs to see what the fans think.
Jim Langley, UCONN Senior: “It’s not right. After last year’s unfortunate letdown of a season and the Huskies not having the chance to even be in the tourney, Ollie has now taken this team to the promise land. He should be finishing the job.”
Eric Thompson, UCONN Sophomore: “Nothing against Calhoun or anything, I mean the guy’s a legend here in Connecticut. But this is Ollie’s time! It was a nice gesture, but Calhoun should have turned it down.”
Jessica Bennigan, UCONN Senior: “I don’t really care who is coaching. As long Shabazz is out there. SHABAZZZZZZ!!!!”
Keith Hamilton UCONN Junior: “Calhoun should have never retired when he did. This is his chance to end an epic career with one last NCAA Tourney moment.”
Matt Sampson UCONN Freshman: “Who cares, I will be blacked out by halftime anyway. BLEED BLUE! Oh, and If anyone wants to come to our kegger at Carriage House on Saturday just message me on twitter @MattCONN14 ”
Jack Forbes UCONN Junior: “At this point I would vote for Calhoun for Governor. Cals is never the wrong decision. Ever.”
Ollie says he will be watching from the second right directly behind the Huskies bench cheering on Calhoun and the guys.
To watch the video of the announcement CLICK HERE.