Jim Calhoun doesn’t want to talk about Jeff Hathaway’s job status. Well, not to the N.Y. Times at least.
The UConn coach has been on a roll since winning his third NCAA tournament, but he’s not about to get chatty regarding all things UConn. When contacted for a response to the rumors that the school is trying to buy out its athletic director, hung up on a reporter. School president Susan Herbst told the paper that “we don’t talk about personnel matters.”
Well then. What if ESPN’s Dana O’Neil asks? Will that earn a comment? Looks like it.
“I do. I 100 percent do think that’s unfair,” the coach told O’Neil. “I have nothing against anybody. Jeff and I, our relationship hasn’t always been all that it should have been. When he came back [in 2003], he seemed to have changed somewhat and they say when you move over six inches to the head coach’s chair, things change. But I don’t want to see anybody lose a job.”
Some would call that disingenuous. Calhoun and Hathaway’s relationship is contentious at best. The two have been at odds ever since the Nate Miles mess landed Calhoun in hot water with the NCAA. Other aspects are in play – no basketball practice facility irks Calhoun, not enough fundraising help bothers Hathaway – but it’s clear that in this race Calhoun’s coming out ahead and Hathaway is toast.
The best summation of this whole situation comes from Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant. He knows the dynamics, the background and can see the writing on the wall in regard to Hathaway. And he feels sorry for him. From his column:
This is cruel. This is pitiless. And if you think I have sympathy for Hathaway, sweetheart contract, warts and all, you are thinking right. He never had a chance in a fight against the baddest man in Connecticut.
The lesson? Don’t mess with Jim Calhoun. Especially not when he’s coming off one of his best seasons.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.