Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Calhoun to Return for 26th Season

Ending whatever doubt still remained, Jim Calhoun has informed UConn president Susan Herbst that he will return to coach the Huskies for a 26th season.

Calhoun, who signed a five-year, $13 million contract extension in May, 2010, has repeatedly said over the past six months or so that he hadn’t made a decision about his return. Even during the Huskies’ improbable run to a third national title last April, Calhoun said he would wait until after spending some time with his family to decide.

He wouldn’t comment publicly on his decision Wednesday.

Certainly, things couldn’t be much better for Calhoun and his program right now. On the heels of the national title, Calhoun has raked in three prized recruits – including one of the top-rated big men in America, Middletown’s Andre Drummond, last week. Jeff Hathaway, the athletic director with whom Calhoun has feuded for years, has left the position and been replaced on an interim basis with Paul Pendergast, an ally of Calhoun’s. Herbst and Calhoun also have great admiration for each other.
Still, Calhoun had apparently put off his decision until Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, UConn’s 2011-12 schedule was made public. The Huskies will kick off their regular season on Nov. 11 at Gampel Pavilon against Columbia. Prior to the game, the 2011 national championship banner will be unveiled. UConn will also play a home-and-home series with Syracuse for the first time since 2006-07.

UConn’s Big East slate begins on Dec. 28 at South Florida. Of course, Calhoun will not be on the sidelines for that game, or the Huskies’ New Year’s Eve bout with St. John’s at the XL Cetner in Hartford or on Jan. 3 at Seton Hall. Calhoun was suspended for the first three games of the Big East season as a result of NCAA violations in the recruitment of Nate Miles.

Obviously, that embarrassment wasn’t enough to keep Calhoun away from the sidelines for good this season.

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