Make no mistake about it: Jim Calhoun was a great coach. Whether you liked him or not - and some will always point to the off-the-court issues and his abrasive style - there's no denying that Calhoun built the UConn men's basketball program into a national powerhouse. In fact, what he accomplished over his 26 years in Storrs should go down as one of the greatest coaching jobs ever.
After a distinguished 40-year career that included a little bit of everything - from health problems, to NCAA sanctions, to championships, Calhoun announced his retirement on Thursday. Kevin Ollie, one of Calhoun's former players who had been an assistant on his coaching staff, will take over.
Talk about the difficult task of replacing a legend.
Calhoun won 873 games as a head coach, spending his first 14 years at Northeastern where he won 248 games. At UConn, he made four trips to the Final Four, winning national championships in 1999, 2004, and 2011. Calhoun also led the Huskies to the 1988 NIT championship. His teams won 10 Big East regular-season championships and seven Big East tournament titles. He took Northeastern to the NCAA tournament five times, then went back 18 times with UConn.
I previously wrote about what I thought were the signature moments in UConn's rise to the top of the college basketball world: the 1988 NIT championship, the dramatic run to the 1990 Elite Eight, and the three national championships.
Obviously, it's the on-the-court triumphs and championships that get the headlines, but there's so much more to Calhoun's tenure. With that said, here are 10 moments - aside from the championships - that define Calhoun's career at UConn.
May 15, 1986: Calhoun arrives in Storrs after taking Northeastern to the NCAA tournament in five of his last six years at the school. Later that year, Calhoun would pick up his first win as coach of the Huskies when UConn beat UMass. The Huskies finished the season 9-19, the only time under Calhoun that they would finish under .500.
1990: Calhoun is named the Associated Press Coach of the Year. The Huskies finished the season 31-6, won the Big East tournament championship, and made it to the Elite Eight.
February 13, 1995: This was before the national championships, even before any Final Four appearances. But there was no doubt that they were among college basketball's best when the Huskies reached No. 1 in the national polls for the first time. UConn made it to the Elite Eight that year, but would have to wait four more years for its first national title.
December 30, 1997: Calhoun picks up career win No. 500.
January 24, 1999: By this point, everyone in Connecticut knew how good of a coach Calhoun was. If there was any doubt, it was erased when he picked up his 287th win with the Huskies, becoming the winningest coach in school history. Two months later, the Huskies won the national championship.
March 20, 1999: Before there could be a national championship, which came later this month, the Huskies had to first get to the Final Four. That finally happened with a win over Gonzaga.
September 9, 2005: In terms of personal achievements, it doesn't get any better than induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. For Calhoun, it happened on this day, a year and a half after he won his second national championship.
February 5, 2007: Now it was becoming more and more about the milestones. Calhoun won his 500th game at UConn as the Huskies beat rival Syracuse.
February 25, 2009: Calhoun picks up the 800th win of his career.
September 12, 2012: After an offseason of speculation, we learned that Calhoun would retire. A news conference was scheduled for the next day.
Charles Costello is a Yahoo! Sports Featured Contributor who has followed the UConn Huskies since the late 1980s.
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