Monday, October 7, 2013

Kevin Ollie: "Hopefully, We Show You All a Great Show"

UConn officially announced today that it will host Eastern Washington on Dec. 28 at 1 p.m. at Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena. It'll be the first regular-season in-state home game for UConn not in either Storrs or Hartford since Jan. 3, 1987, when it hosted Syracuse at New Haven Coliseum. (The women will also host Temple at the arena on Jan. 11 at noon).

Here's some of what Kevin Ollie and Warde Manuel had to say today at a press conference at the Limerick Pub inside the arena:


The second-year had coach has some family ties to Bridgeport:

Sadly, Ollie's father-in-law passed away last week.

“But I know his spirit is right here. He loved Bridgeport, he loved the community here. It’s just unfortunate he’s not going to be here to see this game. But I know he’s going to be here.”

“Hopefully, we show you all a great show, and hopefully we go out and win a basketball game, and also win hearts of our fans. Because that’s what we really want to do.”

“Some people can’t drive up to Storrs, they can’t drive up to Hartford. Having it right around the corner from them, they can come in and see the fans, see the spirit and integrate themselves into Husky Pride. That’s what it’s all about.”

(will there be more games in Bridgeport in the future?)

“We’ll take it one step at a time. I’d definitely like to see it grow, but that’s up to our athletic department.”


“It’s important for us to come down here and connect with our fans, with our donors and alums, and be closer to our fanbase. It’s a win-win for us."

He noted that some 30,000 UConn alumni live in Fairfield County, and that nearly a quarter of all current UConn students hail from the area.

“We know this building will be rocking, will be sold-out.”

(as for future games ...)

“We’re looking to see how this goes. There’s no long-term plan at this point. But I think we’re pleased with the relationship we have developed with them, we’re pleased with the way the arena is and what they’ve done and the efforts they’ve made to make the fan experience great here. We’re looking now, and we’ll see how it goes in the future.”

*** It's worth noting that UConn's current one-year contract with the XL Center calls for 17 games to be played there this season between the men and women. That's typical of most seasons. The two games being played in Bridgeport fall during winter break, so there probably wouldn't be a big student presence at Gampel. And the XL Center was unavailable for both dates. In fact, UConn deputy director of athletics Paul McCarthy noted that the time of year (three days after Christmas) usually lends itself to a good crowd turnout for UConn games outside of Storrs.

*** UConn is set to resume its home-and-home series with Texas for the 2014-15 season. The Huskies would also like to continue to play Florida in future years, and is working on resuming rivalries with former Big East foes like St. John's, Georgetown and Syracuse (though Providence, for now, appears out of the picture).

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December 9, 2013 at 8:45 AM 

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