Jim Calhoun, the coach who transformed Connecticut basketball from a decent program in New England to a true national power from 1986 – 2012, will be honored this evening.
Prior to Calhoun’s coming to Connecticut, the school had reached just two NCAA Tournaments since 1967, and were hardly contenders from a national perspective. In his 26 seasons at the helm, however, Calhoun led the Huskies to 18 NCAA Tournaments and three National Championships.
Many former players and coaches will be in attendance, along with avid Husky alumni and fans. During his tenure as coach, Calhoun sent nearly 30 players to the NBA.
Stanley Robinson spoke with Dave Borges of the New Haven Register, and called Calhoun a “father figure” for him.
It isn’t just players that excelled under Calhoun. Many coaches had their careers elevated as a result of assisting Calhoun. Names such as the aforementioned LaFleur (associate head coach at Providence), Moore (head coach at Quinnipiac), Steve Pikiell (head coach at Stony Brook), Kevin Ollie (current coach at Connecticut), Howie Dickenman (head coach at Central Connecticut State), and many others studied under Calhoun.
To give you an idea of just how big a ceremony this will be, Gavin Keefe tweeted out a picture of what Gampel Pavilion, the site of so many memorable moments for Husky basketball under Calhoun’s watch, looks like: