On September 13, 2012, of the most allegorical coaches in college basketball history ended his long, successful 41 year career; Jim Calhoun.
His legend began at Northeastern University in 1971, where he was named head coach of the men’s basketball team. He converted a lowly Huskies team from Division II to Division I where they advanced to the Division I tournament four times under his regime. During his final three seasons there, the school earned automatic bids to the NCAA tournament finishing with an overall record of 72-19.
To this day, he remains the institution’s all-time leader in coaching wins with a record of 245-138. However, the majority of Calhoun’s career was at the University of Connecticut where he was named head coach in 1986. After a slow start, UConn received a bid to the National Invitation Tournament where they defeated Ohio State to win the NIT Championship. His impact on the school’s athletic department was almost immediate. In 1990, Calhoun was named the consensus National Coach of the Year after leading the Huskies to their first Big East divisional championship, the NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight, and a 29-6 record in only his fourth year at the helm. With such impressive statistics, the University of Connecticut knew they had invested in a coach worth keeping.
In 1999, Calhoun won his, and UConn’s, first ever NCAA National Championship over a favored Duke in St. Petersburg, Florida. Just five years later in 2004, he led the team to yet another national championship at the conclusion of a year where they were ranked number one throughout the entirety of the season. Calhoun now holds a 35-12 record with UConn in NCAA Tournament play, including a 6-1 record in the Final Four; the one loss being to the University of San Diego in 2008 during overtime. The Huskies overall conference record under Calhoun’s leadership stands at 220-112 which is a .665 win percentage. They hold ten conference titles between the years of 1990-2006 and seven Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament championships between the years of 1990-2011. In late 2005, Calhoun was finally inducted into the Dr. James Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame after leaving his monumental mark on college basketball.
Soon after in 2009, he became the first coach in NCAA history to win 240 games at two different Division I schools. Then in 2011, Calhoun won his third NCAA Men’s Championship as UConn defeated the Butler Bulldogs. The victory made Calhoun the oldest coach to win an NCAA Division I men’s basketball title at 68.
With so many accomplishments, Jim Calhoun seemed content with his college basketball career and retired on September 13, 2012 leaving behind one of the greatest coaching spectacles of all time.