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.
A recent article from Sports Media Watch told us something we already knew: the Final Four is great television, and hugely popular.
According to the site, the recent, thrilling NBA finals came in second in viewership in the all-important demographic of males aged 18-49, with an average 7.1 rating over the seven-game series. The Final Four was numero uno in live sports.
In a way, this is kind of an apples-to-oranges comparison. The Final Four is three single-elimination games, while the NBA Finals can be anywhere from four to seven games, with elimination not even a possibility over the first three contests. The stakes are rather different in that respect.
Still, it has to be interesting to hoops fans to note that both events finished higher than the five BCS Bowl games. The Final Four was tabbed with a 11.4 rating, and an unofficial average of 18.2 million viewers. The BCS games drew an 8.8 with 15.1 million sets of eyeballs trained toward football.
The comparison is a bit of a chimera, but interesting nonetheless. While your average regular-season football contest out of the Big Ten or SEC will whoop just about any college hoops game you can imagine, basketball purists can rest assured that our postseason is still the best thing in sports – the numbers back us up on that.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.