As his hip healed, his knee worsened and he eventually had knee replacement surgery, and another grueling rehab. But the day following his retirement, Sept. 14, 2012, he was on campus as usual and continued to attend practices much of the time. He traveled with the Huskies to Germany, where they opened last season at Ramstein Air Base, doing the color commentary on the radio broadcast, and then the next week to the Virgin Islands, there to have a long chat with Ollie after his first loss.
Calhoun was at nearly every home game last season, sitting courtside, often with Warde Manuel.
"People say, 'you look so calm,'" he says. "I'm not calm. I look over and I see Kevin and my heart beams with pride. My stomach gurgles when things aren't going well. I see those coaches; it's personal to me. Those are my guys."
The big office downstairs is Ollie's now, and the meetings in Calhoun's beloved "bunker" go on without him. Much of the memorabilia he collected over the years is now in boxes and piles in his new office, though he has hung a number of pictures and plaques on the wall. All of it will be rearranged in 2014, when the new basketball training facility is ready. Among Calhoun's tasks is raising the remaining funds to complete the $35 million building.
"We'll have to furnish it," he said. "People joke that it doesn't seem like a state project, it's going up so fast."
The recent news that UConn was ranked in the top 20 among the nation's universities, ahead of some that have received invitations to the ACC or Big Ten while UConn was left behind, launched Calhoun into a prideful soliloquy about how far the university has come, and what still needs to be done.
"Bottom line, I don't think we're in the best place possible," he says. "I don't think anyone does at UConn. I look at it as those days when we were trying to get things going in Big East. There are a lot of things we need to do going forward."
Calhoun is planning now for a trip to Israel with UConn President Susan Herbst, where he will be briefly back in his old element, talking basketball and seeing former UConn players Nadav Henefeld, Doron Sheffer and Gilad Katz.
And, though he tries to stay out of the planning, there will be a tribute to Calhoun at Gampel Pavilion on Sept. 22, which will benefit the UConn Health Center and the new basketball center.
"It's a quarter century of UConn basketball," Calhoun said, "and we can say, 'OK, we got from here to there, and now that era's over.' And, by the way, we're going into a new league, so, really that era is over."
There, one might beg to differ. If the work is complete, the office in a new place, the Big East dismembered, the era is not really over, nor is basketball for Jim Calhoun.
He was in Springfield recently to meet new members of the Hall of Fame, and found himself in a long conversation with Bernard King, the former Knicks all-star. After listening to King talk about his various moves and tactics, Calhoun got to thinking.
"I would get some tape of Bernard King," he said, "which should be easy to get, and try to figure out which of our players could benefit and …"
Then he trails off.
"It wasn't a job," Calhoun says. "It was never a job to me."