Sunday, December 2, 2012

Jim Valvano Has UConn Ties, Kept Dee Rowe from Jumping Into Connecticut River

As UConn prepares to face No. 18 NC State in the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, it's worth noting that Jim Valvano shares connections with both schools.

That's right: Valvano's first full-time, Division I job was as Dee Rowe's assistant coach at UConn from 1970-72. After graduating from Rutgers, Valvano spent one season at Division III Johns Hopkins before joining Rowe's staff. Ironically, they were the only two losing seasons of Rowe's head coaching career.

(Here's Jimmy V and fellow UConn assistant Billy Kilbaugh (left), circa 1970-71, courtesy of UConn sports info department) ----->>>>

"I uswed to speak at dinners honoring Jim," Rowe told UConn men's basketball SID Phil Chardis, "and all these people would get up and say what a great coach he was. And I would say, 'He isn't that great. Those were two of the worst years I ever had in coaching.' He was great at keeping me from jumping into the Connecticut RIver."

Valvano let UConn in 1972 to become head coach at Bucknell, and later moved on to Iona and, of course, NC State, where he won the national title in 1983.

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