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Jim Calhoun retires, but with what legacy?

A LEGO statue of Jim Calhoun, courtesy of @AntMardurnerner. And I thought we were crazy

As expected, Jim Calhoun announced his retirement this morning, bringing his 26-year career as UConn’s head coach to a close. Most reporters are praising Calhoun for building the UConn program, winning three national titles, and helping stars such as Kemba Walker and Emeka Okafor reach the NBA, all things that are true and deserving of credit, but you have to consider the current state of the UConn program when examining his legacy. UConn is currently on probation for dirty recruiting and can’t play in the 2013 NCAA Tournament due to low APR scores. The program, a year and a half off a National Title, may be at it’s lowest point during the Calhoun era, which makes it the perfect time to leave, right Jim?

Calhoun is already a Hall-of-Famer. He’s won 873 games, which puts him at sixth on the all-time list behind Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight, Jim Boeheim, Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp. He made basketball relevant in New England. He’s the grumpy old man of college basketball, whose brash and stubborn nature became as notorious as his win-loss record. Remember the time he chewed out a reporter in a post-game presser? Fun stuff.

With seventy years, three national titles, and a myriad of health problems under his belt (including a broken hip from a bike accident this summer), you have to wonder why Calhoun didn’t retire when the Huskies were at the top. Instead, he leaves the program with more problems than it’s ever had, with Kevin Ollie alone to clean up the mess. UConn will be terrible next year. They’re rebuilding, not reloading. Don’t think for a second that Calhoun didn’t see that coming, and got out while he still could.

Calhoun’s followers call him an icon, a legend in the sport. They erect incredibly impressive LEGO statues in his honor. They say he made the UConn program what it is today. Well, yes he did. He made UConn a giant in college basketball, puffed up by titles and NBA players, that is now flailing at the ropes to pull itself off the mat.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

26 Comments for Jim Calhoun retires, but with what legacy?

  1. Dear IU and UL, We are National Champs; you are not. The end.
    3:03 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    His tombstone will read.
    Jim Calhoun
    A$$hole and Cheater.

  2. Go Cats
    3:05 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Calhoun’s legacy will be sugar coated by the mindless throngs of UCONN fan who for the first time got a taste of what is like to be part of an elite program. However, his legacy is marred by his win by cheating approach that promotes the professionalization of the sport over the primary mission of academics.

  3. Chicago Chris
    3:06 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    On the other hand, where is Connecticut Basketball without Calhoun? High end recruits will consider UConn even with a different coach because of the legacy he has left.

  4. MachoNacho
    3:09 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Billy Clyde should go to UConn

  5. SexnNursinHomes
    3:19 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Calhoun now has all the time in the world to work on increasing the size of the Gin Blossom on his nose. Bottoms up Jim!!!

  6. SoCal Will
    3:22 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    He found the cupboard bare. Somehow he put together a program that won three NCAA Championships. He was jealous of John Calipari. He left the cupboard bare.

  7. Biglaw Dawgin'
    3:31 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    He will definitely be remembered as an A-hole. Couldn’t stand to hear the guy’s press conferences, dating back to when he called Callipari “Johnny Clam Chowdah” because he was from a different state but coaching in Mass.

    He was by far my least favorite coach to watch/listen to in college. But, you gotta admit, he won.

    His NCAA violations are somewhat of a tough subject for me since he was essentially found to have given extra tickets to recruits’ friends and family, a violation that, depending on the situation and amount of tickets given, shouldn’t be that big of a deal in my opinion. With the Nate Miles thing, I don’t think giving a recruit a place to stay and a ride to the games should be a violation either. It’s not like he dropped a duffle bag full of cash to the guy.

    But regardless of whether he’s a cheater or not, he’s still an a-hole. Albeit an a-hole that won games.

  8. Scott Cooper
    3:32 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    He looks like a Simpson’s character.

  9. Claw
    3:45 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    I am sure he is not as evil as folks make him out to be. I have made comments on here in the past I regret. It really saddened me though seeing the comments on the earlier post about the Alabama tee-shirt. People ripping Christians for believing in a “fantasy.” I try to avoid commenting anymore because you get ripped no matter what you say. I believe in God. I have that right. I try to do good. I love this website, but it is out of control. If anyone can post hateful comments without a legitimate registration system, things tend to degenerate into a mess. Without accountability, it gets to be a mess. You get more website hits that way and make more money. I opt for respectability and I’m just a redneck from Ashland.

  10. Boone
    3:55 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    I’m as much of a Calhoun hater as anyone, and am very pro Calipari… But couldn’t the exact same thing be said about Cal at UMass and Memphis? Regardless of fault, he didn’t leave either of those programs any better than Calhoun’s leaving UConn… Just sayin’

  11. 13th. Grade
    3:57 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    The LEGOS don’t do a very good job of conveying his lousy personality. That screen door is a nice touch. Don’t let it hit you on the way out.

  12. Sammydog
    4:04 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Wouldn’t surprise me to see them try to hire Rick Pitino much like UK did to try and stabalize the program quickly. He might not be interested at his age but if he could win the championship this year for Louisville, he just might consider it. #9 I suspect we don’t agree on many things but I do suppport your post. This is not the sports board to participate in if you want thoughtful, respectful discussion of sports. Try a Sea of Blue for that.

  13. Big Blue Coming at You
    4:08 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    While he was a pretty good basketball coach, the man said screw academics and committed recruiting violations as well. Not to mention he was an all around A-hole. Glad he’s gone because basketball doesn’t need that kind of coach.

  14. Big Blue Coming at You
    4:09 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    10. Cal had nothing to do with those situations so no it’s not the exact same thing. Just sayin’

  15. Claw
    4:22 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Thanks Sammydog. We probably do agree on many things. Just the fact that you showed respect is all the world needs. It’s a start in the right direction.

  16. Yeseterdays
    4:27 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    That clip of him chewing out a reporter is awesome. Calhoun was just about to or had just won a title. If you are an elite program, then the coach’s salary will be astronomical. Goes with the territory. That writer was just trying to stir something up

  17. tyson
    4:27 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    9–Good comment. I agree.

  18. tyson
    4:29 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    9–on this site, it’s all about the Benjamins–i mean page hits

  19. SexnNursinHomes
    4:32 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    9- you’re a good dude, but I do think Calhoun has some evil in him. That old scowl of his is enough to make the kids cry.

  20. LJX
    4:34 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    He is so crooked when he dies, instead of burying him they will have to screw him into the ground.

  21. barn
    4:38 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    speaking of post game pressers. remember john chaney wanting to kill Cal?:

  22. Claw
    4:45 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Sexn…you’re a good dude too. You crack me up. Your comments sometimes make the liberal in me laugh. The more moderate in me makes me want to choke you. Hey, the good news is…the 2014 class is looking killer. A sad lot we are.

  23. SexnNursinHomes
    4:53 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    22- hahahaha. perfectly said.

  24. CaliUKfan
    5:24 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    I’m not a Calhoun or UConn fan but they won’t be terrible next season. Daniels, Napier, Calhoun, and Boatright form the core of a squad that will be strong from the 1-3 and weak at the 4-5. Only Giffey and Orlander return in the frontcourt.

  25. STEVE!
    5:58 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    He was a pioneer. Being on NCAA Probation for both rules violations and APR deficiencies simultaneously is not an accomplishment you see often. Has that ever happened before to a major D-1 program?

  26. Pistol Pete
    10:26 am September 14, 2012 Permalink

    You nailed it as usual, Tyler. Love your writing.