Jim Calhoun at 70 … And In His Own Words

by Categorized: Jim Calhoun, UConn men's basketball


Today is Jim Calhoun’s 70th birthday, and he graciously sat down with me earlier this week for a lengthy interview. The finished product appears in The Courant. There was much more –  the story could have been twice as long – but there is only so much space in print. The coach told his own story, magnificently and movingly, and I’d like to share some more of it here.  …

The legacy:

“There’s a lot of sweat equity involved in the process, a lot of early-on times of saying, ‘Oh, God, what did we get into.’ … I want people to say the five best programs in the history of college basketball are North Carolina, Duke, Indiana, Kentucky and – they have a tough time saying it –Connecticut. I want that legacy very badly for UConn.”

On leaving on top:

“I guess I could have walked away in Houston [after the 2011 title], with my grandkids hugging me, and I kissed Pat, and all the great things. That was wonderful. I’m only trying to do what I think is best. If somebody came up to me and said ‘it’s time,’ that might affect me. I think I will know the exact  right time for me.”

On his future role:

“Since I came here, I got it to a point where 20 wins and NCAA Tournament is a disappointing season, then I may have best vantage point going forward. I’m not going to do anything that’s going to hurt the university. As a matter of fact,I’m here to make sure it does go for the best for the future of the school.”


“[Niels Giffey] talks about the opportunity he has to graduate from college. He spend 2 ½ hours in the weight room last night. Ryan Boatright was in there with him. Is that our influence? Maybe. But we weren’t here. It’s the [player] in the mirror who has to do it. We give them a road map, we give them travel plan, they follow that plan. I’ve never  made a player, except my two sons.

…Michael Bradley came in and said to me, ‘coach, I’m going to have a career and keep playing basketball, but I only have one grandmother and she has cancer.’ So I said, Michael, then you should go [to Western Kentucky].”

The passage of time:

“I’m here today, because that’s all God gives us. I’m not promising anything. People can speculate, but it’s pure speculation. I have a contract. I’ll know when the time is right. I’ll know. It’s going to be my choice, and Pat’s, and that’s the best way to do it. And when I close the deal, whether it’s short or long-term, I won’t have any regrets. I’ve never felt I that I don’t make mistakes.

… The way you keep young, I keep biking. I keep looking back to see if time is catching up with me, but that’s what a rearview mirror is for. And I keep biking like crazy up those hills to make sure it doesn’t.”

To read the full story on Jim Calhoun, click here.

The Courant is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on courant.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.

2 thoughts on “Jim Calhoun at 70 … And In His Own Words

  1. HuskytilIdie

    Coach, we love you, Omar/Bazz/Boat will get it done this year. Most will laugh and say “You have no big guys” and I reply , We had none last year!

    P.s…..Ncaa. life is short have a heart for these kids

Comments are closed.