This Seals It: Calhoun Will Be Back

There is believed to be an impasse right now between Calhoun and Manuel. Calhoun would love to have Kevin Ollie named as the coach-in-waiting. Manuel has balked at such a move.

Let's be real here. After the APR sanctions that have knocked the program out of the 2013 NCAA Tournament and after the scandal at Penn State involving Joe Paterno, the last thing a school can be seen doing is bowing to the wishes of a larger-than-life coach. It would be terribly unwise.

If Calhoun were to pull a last-minute retirement move in September, it would be seen as a kick in the teeth to Manuel and president Susan Herbst, almost forcing them into hiring Ollie. Or would they? Maybe they would name another assistant to spite Calhoun. Either way, it would put Ollie, who Manuel is believed to genuinely like, in a difficult position.

Yes, there are some recruiting hits because of the uncertainty. But to me, the best scenario right now is to elevate Ollie to some higher title, see how he continues to mature as a coach over the next year or two. Chances are excellent that the correct decision on him as Calhoun's successor — either way — will become more and more obvious.

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In the meantime, Shabazz Napier does not think that a season without a chance at the NCAA Tournament would lead to an indifferent Calhoun.

"I think he'll take [the season] the same way as he always does," Napier said. "Until the tournament comes around, he really doesn't worry about the tournament. He always wants to prove to everybody that his team in the best in the country. That's what we have to prove for coach. I think that's where his competitiveness comes from, right there.

"I came back because I'm hoping he'll be back. It's looking good so far. I figure what happened today will make him want to come back even more. Everyone else will count him out. 'He's 70, he fell off his bike. …' Coach is a fighter. He's going to come back. This is not the way he'll go out."

So here they all were Saturday: Rudy Gay, Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, so many former stars, all expressing concern for Calhoun, all saying they return to an event like this for him, for a charity through which he and his wife Pat have raised more than $6 million for cardiac research.

"They come for Coach," Blaney said.

"It's unbelievable to see all the love they have for Jim," Manuel said. "That's why I'm sad for him he's not here tonight."

Calhoun has survived cancer three times. He missed time last year with spinal stenosis. The man has sent state sports writers to the medical dictionary so many times that they could qualify to practice in some Third World nations. If Calhoun gets hurt or sick one more time, Blaney, his replacement, is going to be 10th on the all-time wins list. Yet despite all of this, I see this broken hip as cementing his return for 2012-2013.

"I can't see him retiring," Chris Smith said. "After today I still can't see it. He's such a vital part of this program. He is THE program."

Far be it for me to give Calhoun advice at this late date. But I'll try anyway.

Two words, Jim: Stationary bike.

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