UConn Coach Jim Calhoun Taking Immediate, Indefinite Medical Leave

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This release just sent by UConn sports information:

UConn Athletic Communications – Feb. 3, 2012 – Calhoun Medical Leave

STORRS (February 3, 2010) — University of Connecticut men’s  basketball coach Jim Calhoun will take an indefinite  medical leave of absence, effective immediately, to deal with worsening  spinal stenosis, a lower back condition that causes  him severe pain and hampers mobility.

Calhoun will not coach Saturday’s game against Seton Hall nor Monday’s game at Louisville and his condition will be evaluated on a daily basis as options for treatment are explored. Associate head coach George Blaney will be in charge of the team in Calhoun’s absence.

According to Dr. Peter Schulman of the UConn Health Center, Calhoun’s primary health care physician, stenosis is a condition that the UConn coach has been coping with for the last few months.

“Last summer, Jim had some significant back pain and has seen two excellent back specialists,” Schulman said. “The initial approach recommended to him was stretching, physical therapy and exercise, and that was successful for several months. It turns out that there is some degenerative problem in the lumbar vertebrae and it’s impinging on the nerves. It has led to significant back pain and some symptoms in his lower extremities.

“Jim has been able to manage it with the physical therapy and stretching, but over the last several days, things have become worse and he is not able to deal with this on a day to day basis, so other options need to be considered.   Right now, he is physically unable to coach.”


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25 thoughts on “UConn Coach Jim Calhoun Taking Immediate, Indefinite Medical Leave

  1. Rufus

    Gee………..losing season….no answers… and now a medical leave. How convenient. I said to friends and family during the GTown blowout that it’s time for Jim to retire.He musta heard me.

    1. Jeff

      Hey Dufus, I mean Rufus: Were you saying the same thing during the team’s extended 11 game winning streak that started first with the 5 wins in 5 days at the Big East tournament followed by their run to the title in the NCAA tournament? That it was time for Coach Calhoun to retire immediately? And you actually have friends? Yeah genius, Coach Calhoun will, without equivocation, follow your advice! After all you must be a doctor by profession, with a specialty in spinal cord diagnosis. What an absolute clown you are Rufus!

      Get well Coach! And if by chance sometimes this year or next if it does turn out that you eventually do retire, then I just want to extend my thanks for what you’ve done for the University. Being a Husky fan since the early 70’s and an alumnus of the school; back when I attended the school as an undergraduate student in the late 70’s who the heck thought, then, that there EVER be even one banner proclaiming “UConn: Men’s National Basketball Champions” hanging from the rafters – let alone 3 that the program has managed to achieve? Coach Calhoun provided the program with national prestige and respect. No longer were the best CT high school players leaving the state to play elsewhere because these youngsters thought that the program would never turn out to be anything but a regional school. Before Calhoun’s arrival as coach back in the mid 80’s, students who attended the school in my time were satisfied when UConn defeated Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, and UMass all from the Yankee Conference. It was a cause for celebration on campus when we knocked off the Minutemen from UMass. My, but we’ve come a long way since then. Again thank you Jim Calhoun!

      1. Rope

        Rufus the dufus is a great line! Coach is a legend and you are a hater. I can only imagine the basement apartment at your parents home where you blog your days and nights away. Did you have to go upstairs to talk to family? Loser!

    1. phofperson

      Rufus, there are groups of people who feel as you do. he has said openly that he doesn’t know how to deal with this group of athletes and due to his many medical problems, it’s time to stop.

  2. David

    Rufus: yea, it’s been like what, a whole 10 months since he won the national championship? Must have totally lost it since then. What a dope.

    Get well soon Coach!

  3. UConn Fan

    I can relate. I’ve been laboring with spinal stenosis for 3 years, and it only gets worse and the back pain is constant. Coincidentally, I also had prostate cancer surgery, by the same physician as Calhoun (not making any connection to the stenosis, of course, just noting the coincidence). But I do have to say that I still work every day. I can see where it would keep you from PLAYING basketball, but but it seems an odd time to be leaving the team during an already noted leadership crisis, for a head coach. Watching the games, I haven’t seen him appear to be in great pain, or unable to stand, sit, or walk. I know we can never walk in another man’s shoes, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that this news is disappointing to me. I can’t help but wonder if Coach’s heart is really in this anymore.

    1. 3timechamp

      You obviously did not attend the ND game as Calhoun sat the majority of the game. Easy to kick a man when he’s down. Get well coach!

    2. TZToronto

      This isn’t like lower back pain. People who have spinal stenosis can often relieve their pain by sitting down–but they can’t walk very far without feeling pain. It is associated with aging, but of course not everyone gets it. I have no doubt that JC is in severe pain. He didn’t bail a couple of seasons ago when he had so much talent and an apparently unmotivated team. He likes his players but just can’t figure out how to mold them into the team he wants them to be. (That’s always a coach’s problem.) What I will say, though, is that if the pain stays and JC feels that he can’t coach effectively because of it, he’ll retire.

    3. Joe

      I think it is a combination of things. Not the least of which is the pain/discomfort. Jimmy missing time is nothing new. I’m sure there is some element of shake up, in his decision to take the leave. He’s tried plenty of other things to get these guys to play together. Sometimes you have to turn things on their ear to make change. And sometimes (as is the case with the team), you need to take it on the chin in order to grow. These guys will be fine next year, provided Lamb & Drummond return. Also, Nerlens Noel reclassified to the 2012 class. Let’s lock him up ASAP.

    4. Javier

      are you kidding me??? i don’t think calhoun has ever been more invested in a group of guys than he is right now. these guys were supposed to bring him to another final 4. they are as talented as any other team and have already won a national championship, too bad the only thing they are missing is a leader like kemba.

      you can say many things, but one thing you cannot say is that Calhoun’s heart is not invested in this team. i think thats something you could never say of calhoun.the reason he is a great coach is because he is 100% invested in each and every single team he coaches.

  4. Rufus Mom

    Losing season Rufus? Did you not pass kindergarten where you learned 14 wins > 7 losses?

  5. Joe

    Anyone who hasn’t spent a lifetime trying to motivate elite college level basketball players to outperform other elite college level basketball players should pipe down over Calhoun’s tactics. Similarly, anyone who hasn’t gotten old, ought to pipe down over the realities of that. Basically, trolls like Rufus should get a clue. That or his opinions should be tolerated by us, like we might tolerate a child’s opinion. Let’s just pat him on hte head and move on to a more legitimate, productive conversation.

    1. Sandy J

      As a baby boomer athlete, I understand what Coach is going thru. I finally had minimally-invasive back surgery this summer for Spinal Stenosis, after a few months of non-effective PT. Walked out of HOCC same day with no pain. Hope he can fully recover as well, and be back to coaching soon. Best Wishes Coach.

      1. UConn Fan

        Sandy, would you mind posting the name of the procedure that you had? Might be something I could look into.

        1. Sandy J

          It’s called minimally invasive laminectomy- for lumbar spinal stenosis is out-patient surgery – relatively new procedure. I had it done for L3-L4 where arthritis was causing pressure on the sciatic nerve down my left leg. No cutting of muscle tissue so recovery is quick – my pain was GONE after surgery. I took a few days off from work, and had to wait for the 1.5″ incision to heal before I could head back to the pool. Dr. David Spiro, who is now with Saint Francis Hospital performed the surgery. That’s his specialty. Good luck!

  6. UChuskies1

    Nice Rufus. I’m sure you were saying the same thing last year as well. Fans like you aer awful. First ones to get in line for Final Four tickets, but also the first ones to step off the bus and jump on another team’s bandwagon. Calhoun has earned the right to do whatever he sees fit in order for HIM to be successful with his life. 3 National Championships, a Hall of Fame career, and a school that would still just be a farm school in the boondocks if it wasn’t for what him and Geno have done. Get well soon Coach Calhoun!!!

  7. Matias

    I for one am glad he’s prioritizing his health and not breaking his back (no pun intended) trying to make this team of softies learn to play the Calhoun way. Better to save strength, let the team have a good wake up call season with no NBA outs, and be ready to come back and shock the world next season, where Napier or Boatwright will come back as the next Kemba Walker, Lamb will come back unable to miss a shot, Drummond will come back 2x the beast and able to hit FT’s, and Oriakhi will come back a grown up.

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