After winning 873 games at Northeastern and UConn, Jim Calhoun made the decision to retire shortly before the start of the 2012-13 season. However, even with the move away from the sidelines the Hall of Famer has remained close to the game, serving as a special advisor to UConn AD Warde Manuel and being a fixture at UConn games both home and away.
Thursday it was reported that the coach who provided some unforgettable moments in his dealings with the media (look up his Ryan Gomes-based rant on YouTube) will be on television. According to The Big Lead, Calhoun is one of three former college head coaches who will work in the ESPN studios during the 2014-15 season.
The others: former Kent State, Arkansas and USF head coach Stan Heath and former Brown and Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson.
Given Calhoun’s achievements, most notably building a program that would win three national titles under his watch, he could provide some interesting insight in the studio. But the transition from the sidelines to the studio can be difficult to predict, with some coaches making a smoother transition than others.
What may help in Calhoun’s case is that he’s two years removed from the sidelines, so he won’t be going “directly” from the court to the studio.
Two weeks ago, South Florida relieved head coach Stan Heath of his duties following a 12-20 (3-15 American Athletic Conference) season.
It comes as no surprise that Heath’s son, Josh, a freshman guard for the Bulls, decided to transfer out of the program. The latest college basketball transfer was reported by Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports on Sunday morning.
The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 2.6 points, 3.6 assists and 1.4 rebounds per game in 17 games, all of which came against American Athletic Conference opponents. Coming out of Tampa Prep (Fla.), Heath held offers from DePaul, Princeton, Georgia Southern, Jacksonville and North Florida before deciding to join his father at USF.
Heath will have three years of eligibility remaining. He will likely get a waiver to play immediately at his new school given that a precedent has been set in previous seasons. Rhode Island fired Jim Baron in 2012. He accepted the Canisius job and his son, Billy, followed him from URI to Canisius and was granted a hardship waiver, allowing him to play in the 2012-2013 season. The same thing occurred the previous season, when Central Michigan fired Ernie Zeigler. His son, Trey, received immediate eligibility when he transferred to Pitt.
South Florida is still in search of a head coach after the deal with Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello had to be axed after a background check revealed he had never received a degree from the University of Kentucky. UNLV head coach Dave Rice was being targeted, but Rice is in the process of getting an extension from the Runnin’ Rebels.
Stan Heath was fired after seven seasons with the Bulls.
On Tuesday, Mark Harlan, formerly of UCLA, was introduced as South Florida’s new athletic director. During his introductory comments, Harlan explained what his schedule held in the coming days, saying he would meet with student-athletes and “…listen, listen, listen … then evaluate. Then I will act. I want to learn what’s working, what’s not working, then make some decisions. There are some decisions that need to be made.” The next day, USF dropped a closely-contested AAC tournament game to Rutgers. While Harlan doesn’t officially start until April 7th, Harlan apparently listened and evaluated on Thursday before acting today, firing coach Stan Heath.
The Bulls aren’t devoid of talent, and this past season, one that resulted in a 12-20 record and the loss of Anthony Collins, USF’s star guard whose year was significantly cut short by injuries, was not totally dreadful. The team had three AAC wins, and did beat Alabama during the non-conference slate. Whoever is hired by Harlan will have a stacked roster entering the 2014-15 season, and USF clearly has the pieces to contend. Collins had been shut down for most of the year, and his improved health will be crucial. The freshmen frontcourt duo of Chris Perry and John Egbunu should take the sophomore leap and spend next year beasting other conference bigs, and the year of experience under Heath will benefit one of the nation’s youngest teams.