There may have been a mass exodus of players and a heavy-handed strike from the NCAA in recent months at Connecticut, but a more stabilizing bit of news came from the university Sunday.
According to the Hartford Courant, UConn athletic director Warde Manuel doesn’t have “any doubts” that head coach Jim Calhoun, 70, will return to the sidelines to coach the Huskies next season.
“All indications to me, in conversations, yeah,” he told the paper, reaffirming the idea. “I haven’t worried about that based on our conversations.”
But he did leave the door open, if even slightly.
“On a principle level, I want to have the opportunity to figure out what’s best for us,” Manuel said. “To make sure we are not shutting ourselves off to a broad-based search for what’s in our best interest. That doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to change my mind.”
“Jim and I have had great conversations,” he continued. “I’ve gotten to know his staff. I could very well change my mind about it. But philosophically, it’s just one of those positions I have not gotten comfortable with, cutting off the options. It’s not anything more than that. It’s not that I’ve made a decision on anybody on the staff. I love the staff. I’ve grown to love Jim, in getting to know him.”
The Huskies finished last season with an overall record of 20-14, including 8-10 in the Big East. They lost to Iowa State in the Round of 64 of the NCAA tournament.
In addition to losing cornerstones Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond to the NBA draft, Connecticut lost Roscoe Smith, Alex Oriakhi, and Michael Bradley to transfer.
The NCAA has banned the school from the 2012-13 postseason as punishment for a low Academic Progress Rate.
Connecticut will be bringing in three recruits from the Class of 2012: Omar Calhoun, Phil Nolan, and Leon Tolksdorf.