Is This The End For Jim Calhoun?Posted by nvr1983 on February 15th, 2012
Since last season’s national championship game speculation about the upcoming retirement of Jim Calhoun (and we all know it is coming sooner rather than later) has been running rampant. Calhoun decided to come back to coach what looked like a loaded defending champion, despite having to sit out the first three games of Big East play due to a suspension and the looming possibility that the 2013 Connecticut team would be unable to play in the NCAA Tournament because of the low APR scores of their predecessors. When the Huskies got off to a slower than expected start many chalked it up to a young but talented team figuring out how to play without Walker dominating the ball. As the team’s mediocre play continued, it was assumed that while this UConn team would not be a dominant one like Calhoun’s first two championship teams it still had the talent and most importantly Calhoun to make a run in March. Now it looks like the latter may not be the case.
When Calhoun announced earlier this month that he is dealing with spinal stenosis, which had been diagnosed this past summer, and that he would take an indefinite medical leave of absence to deal with worsening symptoms and to figure out if he would undergo surgery or proceed with conservative management, most media members assumed that Calhoun, one of the tougher individuals you will ever meet, would put off the surgery to have one last run in the NCAA Tournament. If Calhoun opts for conservative treatment, the symptoms of spinal stenosis are classically improved by sitting (something that can be hard to do if you watch this UConn team play), so it would not seem like he would be putting himself any significant risk by returning to sidelines if he can try to be a little less animated than usual. However, it has been almost two weeks since Calhoun announced that he was taking a medical leave of absence and the news out of Storrs keeps getting worse as the most recent information is that Calhoun will be out at least the next three games, which means that he would not return to coach a game until February 25 at the earliest.
There is still a possibility that Calhoun could return for that game on February 25, which is an ESPN GameDay game against Syracuse, in what would arguably be one of the bigger regular season games in the school’s history. That might seem like a grand statement to make except that this Connecticut team, which still has the talent to make another historic run, is sitting on the bubble and would be playing against what might be the #1 (or #2) team in the country in what could be Calhoun’s second to last game at Gampel. With the ESPN crew (and RTC, of course) there it has all the making of a huge night. The question is whether Calhoun’s back is up for it. The possibility that he will come back after this season appears to be increasingly less likely meaning that these next six weeks could be the last time we will see Calhoun on the sideline if he even does return at all.