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Why Now Is the Right Time for Jim Calhoun to Leave UConn, College Basketball

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Athletic director Gene Smith of the Ohio State Buckeyes stands with head coach Jim Calhoun of the Connecticut Huskies as the Huskies celebrate with his team and the trophy after defeating the Butler Bulldogs to win the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament by a score of 53-41 at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Josh SchochAnalyst IIISeptember 12, 2012

Jim Calhoun's retirement has been a topic of conversation in college-basketball circles for years, but Wednesday was the day it finally happened.

The legendary UConn basketball coach has stepped down at the ripe old age of 70 years old, and he made a good choice in retiring now.

Calhoun recently suffered a broken hip, which probably factored into his decision. He is not a young man by any means, and his health has to be a concern of his. This was yet another incident in a series of health issues that included Calhoun taking an indefinite leave of absence from the Huskies in February.

Calhoun is at an age where he probably shouldn't be coaching due to the strain of the season and his deteriorating health. However, the main reason that his decision was a good one is UConn's looming postseason ban.

The Huskies cannot make it to the postseason this season, which led to the transfer of star center Alex Oriakhi to Missouri. The team also lost stars Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb to the NBA, leaving the team that Calhoun would have coached as a depleted one from a year ago.

Calhoun would have had to work incredibly hard to put UConn in a position to make a run in March, and that would have taken years. Not only would he have had to recruit heavily while sitting out the "Big Dance" for a year, but he would have had to stay for at least three or four years to see the fruits of his labor.

That would make him 74.

Calhoun's decision essentially came down to whether he wanted to coach for another three or four years or retire now. He couldn't get back to the Big Dance to win another title unless he stayed well into his 70s, and that would have been a lot to ask of a coach whose health is always in question.

The Huskies are not the powerhouse that they once were, and they are not even as good as they were in 2011, when they won it all. They are in a rebuilding stage and are currently in a poor conference. This team is going to be a project for a few years, and it's better to let a young coach like Calhoun's replacement, Kevin Ollie, lead the Huskies.

Is now the perfect time for Calhoun to step down? No. It probably would have been better to have retired after they won it all in 2011.

Is now a good time to retire? Absolutely.

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