Posted by zhayes9 on September 30th, 2009
News broke yesterday that longtime Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun and athletic director Jeff Hathaway are working on securing a long-term contract extension for the highly successful and equally embattled face of the program that could reach a maximum of six more years roaming the UConn bench.
The last 14 months have certainly been a roller-coaster ride for Calhoun, leading many to believe the 805-game winner may step down after 2008-09 to deal with his health problems and spend more time with his six grandchildren. Calhoun is a two-time cancer survivor, including dealing with extensive chemotherapy prior to last season, and recently suffered eight broken ribs in a bike accident in June. Calhoun also dealt with the Ken Krayeske “not a dime” press conference controversy, the Nate Miles restraining order and subsequent NCAA investigation, missing the first round game of the NCAA Tournament due to acute stress and, on the flip-side, a highly successful 31-5 (15-3) campaign that ended with a trip to the Final Four.
Instead of quitting amidst the gunfire, Calhoun will chug on. And in the end, this is the best possible scenario for Connecticut fans. Even at the ripe age of 67, Calhoun has the fire to recruit with the best young coaches in the business, spending seven of the first ten summer recruiting days traveling around the country pursuing the cream of the crop, just weeks after the bike crash. After losing an abundance of talent from last year’s squad, Calhoun has reloaded with five-star impact center Alex Oriakhi and his boarding school teammate Jamal Coombs-McDaniel along with four-star point guard Darius Smith. Connecticut remains in the hunt for superstar 2010 recruits Brandon Knight, Cory Joseph, Doron Lamb and Roscoe Smith. The fact that these recruits will know that Calhoun will be in Storrs for the long haul can only help in their recruitment.
One thing you know about Jim Calhoun: He’s a fighter. He won’t quit. Love him or hate him, few college coaches have the fire of the 67-year old Calhoun. With two national titles, three Final Fours, a Hall-of-Fame plaque to his resume and 557 career wins at Connecticut (including the love of almost every former player), an extension seems inevitable, even if it should extend into his mid-70s. While his doctor may not advise it, Calhoun’s never-wavering passion for coaching young men should trump all.