Jim Calhoun To Be Special Assistant To AD; Kevin Ollie Named UConn Men's Basketball Coach

Jim Calhoun smiles during Thursday's press conference in which the Hall of Fame coach announced his retirement. (MARK MIRKO)

Jim Calhoun, who took UConn from just another basketball program to one of the best in the country, seemingly against all odds, officially announced his retirement Thursday.

"I always said that I would know when it was time, whenever that might be," said Calhoun in a statement. "The hip injury really didn't enter into the decision, except that it gave me more time to think about it and the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that this was the right time to move on to the next phase of my life."

Kevin Ollie, who played for Calhoun and has been an assistant the past two seasons, has been named coach. Ollie played 13 years in the NBA.

Ollie will have a contract that runs through April 4, 2013, and will be paid at an annualized rate of $625,000. He becomes the 18th head coach in the history of the program and only the fourth since the 1969-70 season.

"I am very honored and humbled to become the UConn men's basketball coach," said Ollie in a statement. "I cannot put into words how grateful I am to Coach Jim Calhoun, who retires today as one of the most legendary coaches in the history of college basketball. Coach Calhoun brought me here to Connecticut as a person right out of high school and has mentored me into the person I have become today."

Under a transition agreement that runs through next spring, Calhoun, 70, will become a special assistant to athletic director Warde Manuel, providing services to the university in support of men's basketball, the Division of Athletics, the UConn Health Center, and the university at large.

"The agreement runs until March 21, 2013," Calhoun said. "Then we'll look at everything and go from there."

Upon his full retirement from the university, Calhoun will become Head Coach Emeritus.

"Jim has given 26 years of 100 percent effort into making UConn, and UConn basketball, and so many student-athletes into the best they could be," Manuel said in the press release. "I am proud to have worked with him, if only for a brief period of time, and I look forward to his association with us for years to come."

Calhoun won three national titles at UConn, in 1999, 2004 and 2011.

Ten rows of chairs were set up in Gampel, with the first four rows reserved, a testament to what type of day this would be.

Once Calhoun reached the podium, he thanked countless people, including the fans.

"What happened when we got here, this family of four [Calhoun, his wife and two wons] was taken in by the state of Connecticut," Calhoun said. "Most importantly, you trusted us."

Trusted Calhoun to do the job.

"We had to show everyone as a member of the Big East, we had a rightful place at the table," Calhoun said. ..."One of the great stories of UConn, it took no one single person, it took direction. ... It took players all over the country who truly believed we were doing something special here."

Calhoun, during his speech, introduced his family, calling his wife Pat "his best recruit ever."

UConn president Susan Herbst, who spoke first, said "it''s a moment of sorrow, celebration and admiration. ...He's a legend and he's our legend. He brought us tremendous joy."

Calhoun was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.

Calhoun's final record in 40 years as a head coach is 873-380, which ranks sixth on the all-time wins list. He was 625-243 at UConn.

Calhoun has had 27 players drafted by the NBA, including 18 first-round picks, and 13 of those have been lottery picks. Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Caron Butler, and Cliff Robinson have been All-Star selections, while Allen, Hamilton, Scott Burrell, and Travis Knight have NBA championship rings.