A Hall of Fame coach is preparing to come out of retirement. However, the new gig isn’t exactly high-profile.
Former UConn coach Jim Calhoun expects to be named head coach at Division-III Saint Joseph after spending a year with the program in a consultant role, according to a report from the Associated Press. While Calhoun retired from UConn in 2012, he came out of hibernation last year to help prop up Saint Joseph as it built a men’s basketball team.
Formerly an all-female school, Saint Joseph became coeducational last fall. It’s located just 30 miles from the University of Connecticut campus, its enrollment comes in around 2,400 students, and its basketball gym seats 1,200 people.
What is Jim Calhoun doing at Saint Joseph?
Calhoun was brought in partially due to his friendship with athletic director Bill Cardarelli. Since then, according to the AP report, Calhoun has actively worked to recruit players and secure funding for new basketball facilities. He reportedly still needs to resolve some contractual issues, but the 76-year-old “fully expects” to become Saint Joseph’s first men’s basketball coach next season.
Calhoun is reportedly in talks with networks including ESPN and Netflix about a documentary series covering his return to coaching. He has also brought in former UConn assistant Glen Miller, who is expected to become head coach if Calhoun doesn’t for whatever reason.
So what would this small school in Connecticut be getting from Calhoun? As you’d expect from a Hall of Famer, Calhoun would bring plenty of experience to the post, but some skeletons as well.
The good of Jim Calhoun’s coaching career
No coach in Division-III would come close to matching Calhoun’s résumé: 873 career wins, three national championships, seven Big East tournament championships and 31 players sent to the NBA, including Ray Allen, Rudy Gay and Andre Drummond. UConn was a perennial contender while he was in charge.
Experience like that means even at 76 years old, he still holds plenty of cachet in basketball circles, especially in Connecticut where he’d figure to do most of his recruiting.
The bad of Jim Calhoun’s coaching career
By all accounts, Jim Calhoun didn’t exactly run a clean program at UConn. He was suspended three games in his final season in Storrs, Connecticut for improperly recruiting Nate Miles and left with his reputation having taken a severe hit. UConn itself admitted wrongdoing under Calhoun. He was not even seen as a viable candidate to replace his successor Kevin Ollie after Ollie was fired last season. That’s some baggage to carry around, but it will likely carry little weight at the D-III level.
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