Thursday, March 11, 2010


Barring “something unforeseen,” Jim Calhoun will agree to a contract extension with UConn, likely within the next month, and return to coach the Huskies for at least a few more years, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

“A deal will be done,” said the source. “Jim will come back to school.”

Calhoun’s six-year deal, which pays him $1.6 million this season, expires on June 30. Negotiations have been going, on and off, for several months, to no avail thus far. The logistics of negotiating a 20-page contract and the “legalese” involved, coupled with Calhoun’s 23-day medical leave of absence during the season, have bogged the process down considerably.

“It should not have dragged on, but that’s just the way it’s been,” said the source. “There’s a lot of speculation and rumor, but it will all be done.”

Not so fast, according to UConn men’s basketball spokesman Kyle Muncy.

“For the 24th year in a row, at end of season, Coach Calhoun will determine what he’s doing,” Muncy said. “I understand everybody is in a rush to pass along news. Right now, I promise you no one has come up with any yet. It’s just thoughts and gut feelings.”

According to the source, Calhoun (who turns 68 in May) is “in great health and he wants to coach … no way he wants to leave on a year like this.”

The Huskies fell to 17-15 after their fourth straight loss on Tuesday, to St. John’s in a Big East tournament first-round game. They are awaiting a probable bid to the National Invitational Tournament – one which UConn will almost certainly accept. The Huskies return to the practice floor on Saturday after taking a few days off, and will learn their NIT fate Sunday night.

A recent report on SNY noted that “sources close to Calhoun believe he will retire at season’s end.” However, Calhoun’s son, Jeff, quickly shot down the rumor, telling SNY, “I can tell you unequivocally on my children that he has not made a decision to retire and I fully expect him to be back.”

Following the loss to St. John’s, Calhoun said: “I was made aware of the story, and it has nothing to do with anything and was not based upon any substantive fact … I’m in the business of trying to recruit players to UConn. I love the school, and I still love coaching. But right now it is erroneous. It couldn’t be farther – when I saw or heard a couple of the facts about me talking to certain people, who I have not had a word with the one for one year and the other for eight months about the situation.”

Calhoun was apparently referring to rumors (and a later newspaper report) that his insistence on being able to name former assistant Dave Leitao as his successor has held up negotiations.

According to the source, those rumors have “zero” credibility.

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