NCAA basketball may soon have one less all-time great in its midst, as Connecticut Huskies head coach and future Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun has retired.
Update: September 13, 2:30 p.m. ET by Rob Goldberg
Jim Calhoun officially retired from the University of Connecticut after 26 seasons, according to ESPN. He leaves behind an incredible legacy of a career that included three national championships, a number of NBA players and a program that he more or less built from scratch.
Friend and professional rival Jim Boeheim, coach of Syracuse, said today via Twitter that Calhoun did the "best building job in college basketball history."
In his retirement speech, the 70-year-old coach discussed some of the things it took to make it through all of these years. He said "you can't be something special unless you believe you're something special." (h/t Dom Amore)
He also thanked his family in attendance for their support over the course of his career.
Kevin Ollie takes over as the next head coach for the Huskies after three years as an assistant. The UCONN alumnus spent 13 seasons in the NBA as a player and his familiarity with the program should help him handle the transition.
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NBC Connecticut's Kevin Nathan first reported the news (via NBC Connecticut's Bob Connors):
Calhoun told NBC Connecticut's Kevin Nathan Wednesday that nothing official has been finalized.
"Don't be surprised by anything, even this week," Calhoun said.
It is a matter of Calhoun and his agent "dotting the 'i's' and crossing the 't's'," according to the source.
A second source said Calhoun wants to meet with his players in person before any announcement is made.
While it appears that an official announcement certainly isn't imminent, CBS' Jeff Goodman thinks it very well could be:
Calhoun has not returned multiple calls to CBSSports today. Been told an announcement could come as early as tomorrow.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) September 12, 2012
Jim Calhoun to retire, source confirmed to CBSSports. Announcement expected tomorrow. Kevin Ollie meeting now with administration.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) September 12, 2012
Sources (via SportsCenter's Twitter account) confirm that Kevin Ollie is the likely choice to take over Calhoun:
Sources: Assistant coach Kevin Ollie expected to be named UConn head coach Thursday.Ollie was 2-time captain for Calhoun from '91-'95.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 12, 2012
No matter when Calhoun actually signs the retirement papers and makes it official, it won't come as a surprise, as he has accomplished just about everything possible during his 26-year reign as the head coach of the University of Connecticut.
The 70-year-old, who has 873 total wins over his time with Northeastern and UConn, led the Connecticut Huskies—I guess he only wanted to coach Huskies—to 629 wins, 16 Big East regular-season titles, 12 Big East Tournament titles, four Final Fours and three national championships.
The man who has led guys such as Clifford Robinson, Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Caron Butler, Rudy Gay and Kemba Walker to the NBA is without a doubt one of the most successful college coaches ever.
Unfortunately, the legendary coach has suffered from various health problems over the past few years, and as a result, won't be able to continue to climb that list.
In 2008, he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. In 2009, he fell off his bike and broke five ribs. Just last season, he had to miss a large chunk of the season due to spinal stenosis.
At this point, retirement doesn't come as a shock to many, but that doesn't mean the basketball genius will be missed any less by those who know he has truly been a huge part of this game.