UConn head coach Kevin Ollie had large shoes to fill when he replaced former head coach Jim Calhoun before the 2012-13 season, but the former Huskie and NBA journeyman passed every test with flying colors in leading UConn to the 2014 National Title.
Now, Ollie will reportedly be rewarded with a new contract, as the 41-year-old head coach and UConn officials begin to discuss the parameters of a new contract, according to multiple reports.
According to a report from ESPN‘s Andy Katz, Ollie could see his salary double from the $1.25 million that he made during the 2013-14 season. Ollie was on a seven month contract with the Huskies in his first season before UConn gave him a five-year deal worth $7.5 million in December of 2012.
Katz is reporting that UConn could pay Ollie somewhere between $2.4 million and $2.6 million annually with the new deal, as the Huskies look to reward Ollie for winning a national championship while also making him the highest paid head coach in the American Athletic Conference.
But there’s another big reason why UConn could be re-working Ollie’s deal: The lure of the NBA.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that Ollie could be pursued by the Los Angeles Lakers for their head coaching job, but Yahoo‘s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that no NBA team has formally reached out to get in contact with Ollie.
The Lakers previously paid former head coach Mike D’Antoni $12 million over three years, so money won’t be the reason Ollie turns them down if they choose to pursue him, but the UConn head coach is fiercely loyal and would need a significant reason to leave his alma mater for the NBA, according to Wojnarowski.
Other NBA teams will also have interest in Ollie if their head coaching jobs open up — and Ollie will listen, according to Wojnarowski — but it will certainly take a lot to get him to leave Connecticut.
So if you’re Kevin Ollie, do you stay at your alma mater where you just won a national championship or do you bolt for the NBA when your stock is the perhaps the highest it will ever be?
If Ollie gets any serious interest or an offer from the Lakers — or anyone else in the NBA — that will be the big question.