"I love this university," Ollie said at the New York Athletic Club, where he was to receive the Winged Foot Award Wednesday night. "I'm not looking for another job. Of course, you listen to different things — I got two ears so I'm going to listen — but I'm not going out there soliciting any other job. I want to be here at the University of Connecticut."
The Winged Foot Award goes to the men's and women's national championship coaches. Ollie and Geno Auriemma represented UConn.
But Ollie, who has four years left on his UConn contract, remains in talks for a new deal with the school.
"It's progressing," he said. "We're talking and hopefully we can get together once all this quiets down and me and [AD Warde Manuel] can have a nice talk and hopefully get everything situated."
Ollie, who made about $1.6 million including bonuses last season, would have to pay UConn $2.55 million if he were to leave now. Sources have told The Courant the main sticking point is money attached to an escape clause in the new deal. Ollie did not address specifics.
He has been out recruiting.
"[I tell recruits] I'm going to be the coach at UConn, nothing's changed," Ollie said. "I'm not looking for another job, I keep telling everybody that. I want to be the coach at the University of Connecticut, it's where I'm supposed to be."
Most NBA teams looking for a coach missed the playoffs, so any coach would face a rebuilding process, as Auriemma pointed out.
"Kevin has proven that he can coach, and if you can coach, you can coach," Auriemma said. "It's a matter of what players are you coaching. Who's your general manager? Who's your owner? I can't speak for Kevin, but if that opportunity was ever presented to me, that would be the first thing I would think about — what players am I going to have? Who is my GM? Who are my owners? Am I putting myself in the best area to be successful?
Ollie, 41, is considered a strong candidate because he played 13 seasons in the NBA and now has proven himself as a head coach. He takes persistent NBA talk as a byproduct of UConn's success.
"I imagine if I'd have [lost] in the first round against St. Joe's, my name wouldn't be coming up," Ollie said. "It comes with the territory, when you're successful and the program is successful, everybody gets in a different spotlight. That happens with our players, too. Shabazz [Napier], hopefully he goes in the first round [of the draft] now. If we had lost in the first round [of the tournament] and we had a subpar season, I don't know if Shabazz would be in that situation. DeAndre [Daniels] has the opportunity to go to NBA, Ryan [Boatright] getting all the accolades toward the end of the season."
Lubin A Big Addition
Ollie is waiting for Daniel Hamilton, his top-ranked 2014 recruit, to sign a letter of intent. But that likely won't happen until Hamilton arrives for classes next month. Hamilton has said coming to UConn hinges on Ollie being there.
"From what I've heard from his family and from him, himself, he is all in with the University of Connecticut," Ollie said. "And that's the only thing I need to hear, it doesn't have to be a signature on a piece of paper. I see from his heart and his spirit he wants to be at the University of Connecticut."
Ollie did receive a letter from Rakim Lubin, a 6-foot-8 forward from Buford, Ga, who committed last September.
"Great player, powerful player," Ollie said. "The other night he said he was 270 [pounds] now. I said 'You got to get down a little bit.' He said he wants to be like LeBron. I said, 'There's just one LeBron James. We don't want you playing at 270." … He's going to be a great building block for us. Just a great rebounder, big in every way imaginable." … Ollie said it's possible, but not likely, he will bring in another Class of 2014 player. He has scholarships available with Daniels leaving early and Leon Tolksdorf transferring, but wants to have room for 2015 recruits. … Auriemma said has all the Winged Foot trophies, it's a crystal basketball, in his office at Gampel Pavilion. … The new basketball training center is scheduled to be ready at the end of June and coaches offices will be relocated in July. … Ollie spoke at the Winged Foot event in 2004, when Jim Calhoun won the second of his three titles. Calhoun was expected to be at the dinner Wednesday night. "It's another great opportunity to shed light on University," Ollie said.