HARTFORD – The right decision was made, and it really didn’t take that long. Kevin Ollie now figures to be UConn’s coach for a long time, and he is in position to succeed.
“I want to be here for a lifetime,” said Ollie, who turned 40 this week. The five-year extension is signing on Saturday will give him a good start toward that.
The deal begins after his current one ends on April 1. It runs through the 2017-18 season. Ollie will make $400,000 per year, plus $800,000 for “institutional speaking engagements” in 2013, with that latter figure increasing by $50,000 each year. Add it up and he is to make more than $7 million for the life of the contract, plus bonuses for conference titles, advances in the NCAA Tournament, coach of the year awards, etc., that could add significantly more.
Ollie will get bonuses if his players keep the program above the NCAA’s academic standards, but he could face sanctions, such as loss of bonuses, suspension and even termination if the program has multiple poor APR scores. So the school has some protection.
There could be some rocky times ahead. UConn still feels the effects of the transfers and departures last spring, and needs to make up recruiting ground to have good classes for 2013-14.
But Ollie, if he can’t control all of that, can do something about it – and with his boundless energy, he very likely will. Now, he has the credibility to go out and recruit, with plenty of time to catc up. Perhaps UConn will now get some good news on this front soon, now that stability has come.
And Warde Manuel comes out ahead, too. He saw what he wanted to see – that Kevin Ollie can handle the job, that he is in no way in over his head. The Huskies have played hard for him – there, the players did help their coach - have looked well prepared, done well in school for the fall semester and carried themselves well in public. Talks got serious within the last week or so, and though there was some talk on Friday from Ollie’s camp that negotiations were not going well, but once the offer was made, agreement was reached fairly quickly.
But those are problems Kevin Ollie wants, the problems of a lifetime. UConn is his program now. That is Warde Manuel’s decision, on his time and his terms. One would think that, after months of negative news, this will bring some smiles to UConn fans out there.