Updates from Thursday, May 22
The University of Connecticut and head men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie have agreed to a new five year contract that will run through May 31, 2019. Ollie became the 18th men's basketball coach at UConn in September, 2012.
The report also provides Ollie's comments after the extension was announced:
"I'm very pleased that we were able to agree to a new contract and that we'll be able to continue to build upon the success we've had," Ollie said. "It's a humbling experience to be around the UConn fans and the UConn family and to know that I am their basketball coach for the foreseeable future. I'm very proud of that. UConn is a place that I love and as I've told everyone throughout the season and through all the recent speculation, this is where my heart is. This is where I wanted to be.
"I'm very thankful to President Herbst and Warde Manuel for showing confidence in me and my coaching staff. It's the student-athletes who have sacrificed to uphold the standards we have set at UConn and done such a terrific job. I'm happy and excited to be able to continue to invest in their basketball careers and their lives."
UConn coach Kevin Ollie has signed a new five-year contract worth $2.8 million a year, with incentives that can push it to $3 million per season, he told ESPN on Thursday.
"My heart is here at UConn,'' said Ollie. "I want to stay invested in the student-athletes lives on and off the court. I want to be here.''
The NBA is simply going to have to wait.
Kevin Ollie had begun to attract major interest from the Association after winning a national championship at Connecticut in just his second season as head coach, but according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, he has struck a deal to stay in Storrs:
ESPN's Andy Katz later reported additional contract details:
UConn and Kevin Ollie are on the verge of finalizing a five-year contract that will pay the coach close to $3 million a year, a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations told ESPN on Monday.
Ollie hasn't signed the deal and is still negotiating two key points, including assistant coaching salaries as well as student athlete welfare issues, sources with direct knowledge told ESPN. But the sources say that Ollie and the school hope to have a deal done by Wednesday.
The new deal is projected to make Ollie the highest-paid coach in the American Athletic Conference.
In terms of annual salary, it isn't quite on the level of Steve Kerr—Ollie was reportedly asking for a more lucrative contract than the new Golden State Warriors coach, who was recently hired for $25 million over five years.
Still, Ollie is clearly in an ideal place with UConn right now. As Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix noted, it's going to take a lot to lure the 41-year-old away from the collegiate ranks:
His recent comments to The Associated Press, via The Plain Dealer's Mary Schmitt Boyer, paint a similar picture:
I love this university. I am not looking for another job. Of course, you listen to different things. I got two ears, I'm going to listen, but I'm not running out there soliciting any other job. I want to be here at the University of Connecticut. I'm going to be the UConn coach, nothing's changed.
No one is going to argue that Ollie didn't deserve this massive raise.
After steering a postseason-ineligible Connecticut squad to a 20-10 record in his debut season, he led the Huskies to a No. 7 seed in the 2014 NCAA tournament. The rest is history, of course, as Shabazz Napier and Co. reeled off six wins in a row, completing one of the most unforgettable title runs ever.
When he took over for Jim Calhoun, Ollie—fresh from a 13-year NBA career—was expected to thrive on the recruiting trail. That has proved true: 5-star Daniel Hamilton and 3-star Sam Cassell Jr. (as well as impact transfer Rodney Purvis) headline the incoming 2014 class, per 247Sports' composite rankings.
However, with his run in March, Ollie showcased his coaching chops, navigating a head coaching gauntlet of Fred Hoiberg, Tom Izzo, Billy Donovan and John Calipari en route to a title.
With four championships since 1999, Connecticut has established itself as a powerhouse in men's college basketball. And with Ollie entrenched as head coach, that success only figures to continue.
Just don't expect that to put an end to the phone calls from the NBA.
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