Jim Calhoun's Retirement Will Be Official Nail in Coffin for Big East Basketball

Josh SchochAnalyst IIISeptember 12, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15:  Head coach Jim Calhoun of the Connecticut Huskies reacts as he coaches against the Iowa State Cyclones during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Jim Calhoun's retirement from University of Connecticut basketball capped off what was a horrible day for Big East basketball.

The news that Kevin Ollie would replace the iconic coach who had amassed 873 career victories means that UConn is in trouble. The school is currently facing a postseason ban that caused star center Alex Oriakhi to bolt in favor of the University of Missouri and could potentially see a few recruits leave the program since Calhoun is out.

Calhoun's retirement was not unexpected, as he is 70 years old and suffered a broken hip in August. This was the latest in a series of health concerns that included him taking an indefinite leave of absence for health reasons in February.

However, it is still a big loss for a program that will now enter a rebuilding phase.

This retirement comes after the Big East received news that another one of its members, the University of Notre Dame, was leaving in favor of the ACC. The Irish join Syracuse University, the University of Pittsburgh and the West Virginia University as teams that are leaving the Big East, leaving the conference depleted.

While the conference added the University of Houston, Southern Methodist University and University of Central Florida, these schools pale in comparison to the national contenders that left the conference.

The Big East's exodus of teams left the conference scrambling to try to stay elite, but there was no doubt that it would have to rely heavily on teams such as the University of Louisville and UConn to keep the conference relevant.

That didn't work.

UConn appears to be in serious trouble and it will join the list of prestigious schools that will be rebuilding in the Big East, joining Villanova University and Georgetown University.

The worst-case scenario for the conference was to hope that Providence University's incredible recruiting class in the Class of 2012 would give it some national recognition. But its top recruit, Ricky Ledo, was ruled a partial qualifier, which stopped Providence from becoming relevant.

There really isn't much more that can go wrong for the Big East. Its elite teams are leaving, its new teams include Houston and SMU (who went a combined 28-34 last season), its rising teams are being delayed and now one of the teams it was relying on has lost its coach.

The Big East's future is bleak right now, and it could very easily undergo a period of mediocrity.