Calhoun’s Return: Comparing Him to Other Senior Citizen Coaches

Posted by rtmsf on September 1st, 2011

Jim Calhoun‘s non-announcement announcement that he plans to return to the Connecticut sidelines for the 2011-12 season was no shocker to anybody.  If it wasn’t the interminable wait for a ‘final’ decision that tipped you off, it was the well-placed leaks from key recruits and their families; if you still weren’t convinced, surely the announcement that superstar center Andre Drummond had chosen to reclassify to the Class of 2011 and play for the Huskies this coming season clinched it.  Regardless of when you believed he’d be back,  Calhoun will coach his team this season at the rather ripe age of 69 years old (he turns 70 next May) and, despite some health issues in the past, he shows few signs of slowing down.  And, in fact, his team will be on the short list of contenders after North Carolina and Kentucky most likely to cut the nets down next April in New Orleans.

Why Would Calhoun Give This Up?

We know that with his third national title last season, the curmudgeonly coach passed Kansas’ Phog Allen (66) as the oldest coach to win a college basketball national title, but with a stacked team returning and a few more gray hairs on top of his head, it got us wondering who his senior citizen peers are within the other sports.  Here’s the list of oldest coaches to have won a title in each of the major team sports:

  • MLB – Jack McKeon (2003), 72 years old
  • NCAA Football – Bobby Bowden (1999), 69 years old
  • NCAA Basketball – Jim Calhoun (2011), 68 years old
  • NFL – George Halas (1963), 68 years old
  • NHL – Scotty Bowman (2002),  68 years old
  • NBA – Phil Jackson (2010), 64 years old
Calhoun’s championship last season falls right into the middle of that list, but if he were to win another one next spring a mere five weeks shy of his 70th birthday, he’d trail only the inimitable Jack McKeon as the oldest head coach to win a major title in American team sports. All due respect to McKeon and our friends in Major League Baseball, but Calhoun’s hands-on approach in teaching 18-21 year-old players is a completely different job than delegating those duties to a coaching staff to train older professionals — from our viewpoint, the daily demands on Calhoun’s energy are considerably more.
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Buzz: FSU Loses Appeal on NCAA Sanctions

Posted by rtmsf on January 5th, 2010

Most of the national news on Florida State losing its appeal today for academic misconduct will focus on the impact on the football program and, in particular, the fourteen wins that Bobby Bowden may lose. But there are basketball implications in this decision today as well. According to the NCAA’s Public Report, academic tutors at the school provided answers and other assistance to tests and assignments for student-athletes in ten different sports, including men’s basketball. The school will be on probation in all ten sports until 2013, and Leonard Hamilton’s team has already self-imposed a one-scholarship reduction last year and apparently this year as well (FSU has eleven players on scholarship this season).  It’s also likely that FSU will have to vacate a number of wins from the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons when the ineligible player(s) competed in games, but it’s currently unclear who those player(s) are and how many wins that will be (FSU won a total of 42 games those two seasons).  All in all, the penalties for the basketball program aren’t huge, but they’ll have to be careful to make sure there are no other problems in the next three years or face the prospect of becoming a multiple offender (where the penalties are more severe).

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