NEW YORK – Would Jim Calhoun un-retire? When Michael Kay asked him the question during a taping of a future episode of Yes Network’s Center Stage, Calhoun, 70, spoke of a recent talk he had with Larry Brown, who has un-retired at age 72 to coach SMU.
“I would never say never,” Calhoun said. “I haven’t thought about it. … The situation would have to be right …”
“Do I think I might be coaching next year? No,” he said, “I don’t think my wife would let me. You kow me, I don’t really have a filter.”
Calhoun, who talked about his entire life and career during the show, his relationships with various rivals and UConn’s postseason ineligibility, also revealed Monday that he had another health issue last May, when his normal CAT-scan showed a growth on his lungs. Doctors removed it, concerned it might be a return of the skin cancer Calhoun had five years ago. With his spinal surgery in February and his hip surgery in August, it made for three surgeries as the current season was approaching,
“That took a toll on my body,” Calhoun said, “and I was tired. Now, the energy level I feel is much different.”
While he misses some aspects of coaching, “all the other stuff” that goes with the is something he does not miss, “and there is a lot of other stuff,” he said. That makes a comeback unlikely.
But Calhoun is looking for things to do, considering various opportunities in the media. This interview was something the producers of Center Stage were trying to put together for years. Calhoun drove from Pomfret to midtown Manhattan and joined Kay for an engaging 75 minutes as about 50 watched and listened in the audience.
On Center Stage and back stage afterward, Calhoun offered a interesting takes on all kinds of issues. Some highlights:
- Kay asked Calhoun if he thought Geno Auriemma could coach men’s basketball. “I would like to see him try,” Calhoun said. “With the things he does with his players, he does some great stuff, yes, he could. … I think he has that swagger, the way he truly understands the game, I think it would be very interesting.”
- After the show, Calhoun re-iterated that sooner or later, UConn will join a major conference, in the wake of the rejection by the ACC, which chose Louisville last week.
“There will be four or five major conferences,” he said, “and I am one of the a true believers – they will recognize what UConn offers.” He noted that UConn was not one of the first choices to join the Big East, but got in after other schools, such as Holy Cross, declined. “So it doesn’t matter if you’re some conference’s second choice, or third choice or fifth choice.”
He is concerned about the future in the Big East. He noted that his Huskies were ninth in the conference, but made the NCAA Tournament and won it in 2011, something that couldn’t happen in a conference that gets only three or four NCAA bids.
* Calhoun is increasingly concerned about the negative impact on recruiting due to Kevin Ollie’s short-term contract.
*Calhoun has fond memories of Rick Majerus, who died this past weekend at age 64. Majerus and Calhoun were often part of a group of coaches that met in the off-season and discussed X’s and O’s.
“He was a hard guy not to like,” Calhoun said. “And I didn’t want to like him, because he was more of a techie than a motivation guy, although you couldn’t win as much as he did without being a motivator, too. He would get up and talk about basketball and you would think he should be talking about physics. He was a fascinating guy.”
“He had a great heart. I would invite him to the Calhoun Classic every year, and he wouldn’t be able to come for one reason or another, but I found out he made a donation every year.”
*Kay taped a show with Billy Crystal after Calhoun, and Crystal poked his head in to say hello and ask about Calhoun’s hip. Calhoun told Crystal he was a big fan of his movie “City Slickers.”