Coach Jim Calhoun
Coach Jim Calhoun is author of A PASSION TO LEAD (St. Martins Press, 2008).
In his 18 seasons at Connecticut, Jim Calhoun has compiled a stunning 44-13 overall record in national postseason tournament competition (32-9 in NCAA play, 12-4 in NIT play). His 32 NCAA wins at UConn, all achieved in the past 15 years, far outdistances the entire total of four NCAA victories recorded at Connecticut before Coach Calhoun took over the Husky basketball program in the spring of 1986.
Jim Calhoun has led UConn to 12 NCAA bids in the past 15 years. Under Coach Calhoun's direction, UConn has never lost a NCAA First Round game and UConn is a stunning 22-2 in NCAA First and Second Round competition since 1990. The Huskies have earned ten NCAA Sweet 16 berths in the past 15 years, six Elite Eight appearances, two NCAA Final Four trips and two National Championships.
Under Coach Calhoun, UConn has captured a league record 14 BIG EAST Championships, eight regular season crowns and six tournament titles. The Huskies are 27-12 in BIG EAST Tournament play under Calhoun.
Even before capturing the 2004 NCAA title, Connecticut basketball under head coach Jim Calhoun had achieved a unique "double", winning the 1999 NCAA Division I National Championships as well as the 1988 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Championship.
On March 29, 1999, Coach Calhoun capped his remarkable transformation of the Connecticut basketball program when UConn won the 1999 NCAA Division I National Championship, beating heavily-favored Duke 77-74 in the title game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The 1999 NCAA Championship completed a clean sweep in 1998-99 for the Huskies. UConn won both the regular season and tournament titles in the BIG EAST Conference. The Huskies were the No. 1 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament and Connecticut ran off six straight NCAA victories to finish the year with a single-season school record 34 wins and claim the national championship.
UConn finished the 1998-99 season ranked No. 1 in the nation in the final USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll and the Huskies repeated that No. 1 national ranking after winning their second national championship at the conclusion of the 2003-2004 season.
Eleven years before winning the 1999 NCAA Championship, Jim Calhoun brought his first national title home to the Storrs campus as his Huskies claimed the 51st annual NIT title in March of 1988, beating Ohio State 72-67 in the championship game at Madison Square Garden. That initial championship took place in Jim Calhoun's second season as head coach at Connecticut.
When he arrived at Connecticut as the 17th head coach of men's basketball on May 15, 1986, Jim Calhoun immediately began to chart a new course for success. He promised to "do it the right way, with no short cuts". He noted he wanted to establish a program at UConn that would annually be called one of the top programs in the nation.
One collegiate basketball writer, authoring an article on Connecticut basketball for a national publication, said it best when he noted, "Bringing the UConn program to this point from where it was when he took over is nothing short of miraculous".
Jim Calhoun has earned numerous note-worthy achievements and coaching honors during his 18 years in charge of the basketball program at Connecticut.
During the 2002-03 season, Jim Calhoun became only the third coach in BIG EAST history to reach the 200 victory plateau and his record in BIG EAST games is 220-123, third only to Jim Boeheim and John Thompson in the league's history.
During the 2001-02 season, Jim Calhoun became the 26th coach in NCAA Division I history to reach the 600-win plateau and he entered the 2004-2005 season with 680 career wins. placing him No. 7 among active Division I coaches. He has more wins than any coach in UConn and New England Division I college basketball history.
Following the 2002-03 season, Jim Calhoun received the prestigious Metropolitan Award from the National Basketball Coaches Association (NABC). The award was presented at the NABC Convention at the 2003 NCAA Final Four in New Orleans. The award is given annually by the NABC on behalf of the National Invitation Tournament and the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association and is presented for continued outstanding service for the enhancement and betterment of college basketball. Previous winners of the award include Mike Tranghese, John Thompson, Dean Smith, Lou Carnesecca, Dave Gavitt, Curt Gowdy, John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Joe Lapchick and Phog Allen.
Jim Calhoun is the only coach in the history of the BIG EAST Conference to have been named BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year four times. He earned his first BIG EAST Coach of the Year award in 1989-90 and also won the honor following the 1993-94, 1995-96 and 1997-98 seasons. John Thompson of Georgetown and Lou Carnesecca of St. John's each earned the prestigious honor three times.
In the summer of 2002, Jim Calhoun was selected as a member of the inaugural induction class to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
After directing Connecticut to both the 1999 and 2004 NCAA National Championships, Jim Calhoun was honored on separate occasions as the recipient of the Winged Foot Award from the New York Athletic Club, recognizing him as their National Coach of the Year. He also received the prestigious Victor Award as 1998-99 College Basketball National Coach of the Year and was the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District I Coach of the Year.
In March of 1990, at the conclusion of only his fourth season as head coach of the Huskies, Jim Calhoun was the consensus choice as the 1989-90 College Basketball National Coach of the Year. He guided UConn to a 31-6 overall record as the Huskies won both the BIG EAST regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. He was named National Coach of the Year by five different organizations (Associated Press, United Press International, The Sporting News, CBS-TV Sports, Basketball Weekly).
In October of 2004, Jim Calhoun was named winner of the 2005 "Legends of Coaching Award" from the John R. Wooden Awards Committee. Coach Calhoun will receive the award from the Los Angeles Athletic Club in April of 2005, becoming just the seventh recipient of the prestigious honor. The award honors college coaches who exemplify Coach John Wooden's high standards of coaching success and personal achievements. Previous recipients of the Legends of Coaching Award include: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski and Lute Olson.
Much like his success at Connecticut, Jim Calhoun's performance as head coach at Northeastern (MA) University in Boston for 14 seasons was nothing short of sensational. He developed a program from Division II status to a nationally-recognized squad which became a perennial NCAA Division I tournament team. At NU, Jim Calhoun won 20 or more games in five of his last six seasons, chalked up a brilliant 135-47 record during that span, and earned five NCAA Division I tournament berths.
His final three years at Northeastern resulted in NCAA automatic bids each season and a three-year mark of 75-19.
At Northeastern, Jim Calhoun is the winningest coach in school history (248-137) as his teams averaged 17.9 wins per season. He was a three-time New England "Coach of the Year" and a three-time Kodak District I "Coach of the Year".
In leaving Northeastern in 1986, Coach Calhoun left perhaps the most talented team in the school's history, along with a first round NBA draft pick in senior Reggie Lewis, who later became captain of the Boston Celtics before his untimely death during the summer of 1993.
As was the case at Northeastern, Jim Calhoun's success at producing top-flight collegiate stars that also excel at the professional basketball level, is an annual happening at Connecticut. A total of 18 former UConn stars that played for Coach Calhoun have been part of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They include: Clifford Robinson (Golden State Warriors/Detroit Pistons/Phoenix Suns/Portland Trail Blazers), Tate George (New Jersey Nets), Chris Smith (Minnesota Timberwolves), Scott Burrell (New Jersey Nets/Chicago Bulls/Charlotte Hornets), Donyell Marshall (Toronto Raptors/Chicago Bulls/Utah Jazz/Golden State Warriors), Donny Marshall (New Jersey Nets/Cleveland Cavaliers), Kevin Ollie (Cleveland Cavaliers/Seattle Sonics/Milwaukee Bucks/Indiana Pacers/Chicago Bulls/Philadelphia 76ers/Orlando Magic), Ray Allen (Seattle Sonics/Milwaukee Bucks), Travis Knight (New York Knicks/Boston Celtics/Los Angeles Lakers), Doron Sheffer (Los Angeles Clippers), Richard Hamilton (Detroit Pistons/Washington Wizards), Khalid El-Amin (Chicago Bulls/Dallas Mavericks/Miami Heat), Jake Voskuhl (Phoenix Suns/Chicago Bulls), Kevin Freeman (New Jersey Nets), Ricky Moore (Charlotte Hornets/Detroit Pistons), Caron Butler (Los Angeles Lakers/Miami Heat). Emeka Okafor (Charlotte Bobcats), Ben Gordon (Chicago Bulls).
A former Little All-American and All-New England player at American International College in Springfield, MA, Jim Calhoun graduated from AIC in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology. At AIC, he lettered three years while leading the Yellow Jacket basketball team in scoring as a junior and senior. He captained his alma mater in his senior year and left the school as the fourth all-time leading scorer along with helping the school earn an NCAA Division II playoff berth. He is a member of the AIC Hall of Fame and in the summer of 1994 earned the prestigious distinction of being elected to serve as a member of the American International College Board of Trustees. In the spring of 2000, Jim Calhoun served as the main commencement speaker at AIC's 115th graduation exercises and received an honorary degree from his alma mater.
Jim Calhoun began his coaching career at AIC, serving as an assistant basketball coach from 1966-68. After one year as head coach of basketball at Old Lyme High School in Connecticut, and one year as head coach of Westport High School in Westport, MA, Jim Calhoun moved on to become head coach at Dedham High School in Massachusetts. He quickly rebuilt the program, fashioning a 21-1 record in 1971-72 and seeing his club advance to the State Division I semi-finals.
In October of 1972, he moved into the collegiate coaching ranks at Northeastern University in Boston. In the years to follow, the Northeastern Huskies would dominate the ECAC North Atlantic Conference under his guidance. Northeastern won the league's regular season championship four times and shared the top spot two other times in seven years of conference play. NU also won five of the seven league tournaments and Coach Calhoun's record against conference competition in his career at NU was 74-13. While at Northeastern, he was inducted into the NU Sports Hall of Fame.
In addition to his busy schedule as head coach of the Connecticut basketball program, Jim Calhoun and his family are heavily involved in a number of regional and national charitable and educational efforts.
In November of 1998, Jim Calhoun and his wife Pat began a wide- ranging commitment to the cardiology program at the University of Connecticut Health Center, establishing the Calhoun Cardiology Research Fund with a $125,000 gift. In 1999, the Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament was launched and during the past six years more than $1.75 million has been raised in support of the Jim and Pat Calhoun Cardiology Research Endowment Fund.
In recognition of the dedication and commitment of Jim Calhoun and his family to cardiology research, the entire cardiology program at the University of Connecticut Health Center has been named the "Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center". A formal naming ceremony recognizing the on-going work of the Calhoun family was held in the spring of 2004.
Since 1999, the Jim Calhoun Holiday Food Drive has supported food assistance agencies that serve the State of Connecticut. In excess of $650,000 has been raised to help families in need throughout Connecticut and the food drive culminates each year with Jim Calhoun, his family, and his players personally delivering meals to hundreds of families in the Hartford area.
In October of 2003, Jim Calhoun teamed up with UConn Women's Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma to serve as celebrity hosts of a Coaches versus Cancer event called "Hoops For Hope". The black-tie gala, staged at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, attracted a sell-out crowd of more than 600 and raised in excess of $200,000 for the American Cancer Society. UConn's two national championship head coaches repeated the highly-successful "Hoops For Hope" program in the fall of 2004.
For the past 11 years, Jim Calhoun has served as Honorary Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, helping generate in excess of $4.5 million to fund diabetes research.
Jim Calhoun currently serves as chair of a $7 million fund-raising effort to construct a Boys and Girls Club in the Asylum Hills section of Hartford. To date, with Coach Calhoun's assistance, nearly $5 million has been generated for the project.
Jim and Pat Calhoun have a long-standing involvement with the Franciscan Life Center, counseling and education center operated in Meriden, CT by the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. The Calhouns have been involved annually in fund-raising activities by the Franciscan Sisters. Jim Calhoun has been honored with the "Saint Francis Award" for his dedication to Christian values and outstanding athletic achievements and in 1998 the Franciscan Sisters dedicated an outdoor basketball area, "Calhoun's Court", in honor of the UConn head coach at the Franciscan Life Center in Meriden.
Coach Calhoun has also served as an Honorary Chairperson/Director for several other charitable programs including the Ronald McDonald House Kids Classic Golf Tournament, the Ray of Hope Foundation Golf Tournament, the Connecticut Children's Medical Center and Children's Miracle Network, and the "Character Counts" program in the state of Connecticut.
In the fall of 1999, Jim Calhoun completed work on a book. "Dare To Dream-Connecticut Basketball's Remarkable March To The National Championship" is a first person account by Coach Calhoun of his life as a college coach with specific focus on the 1998-99 season. Working with Coach Calhoun on the book was Leigh Montville, a former senior writer at Sports Illustrated and a UConn graduate.
A graduate of Braintree (MA) High School, Jim Calhoun was a three-sport letter winner in football, basketball and baseball. As a senior captain, he earned All-Bay State League honors in football and basketball. His hometown of Braintree has bestowed a singular honor on Coach Calhoun, naming outdoor basketball courts in a city facility "Calhoun Park". He continues to return to Braintree to speak and conduct basketball clinics for area youths.
Born May 10, 1942 in Braintree, MA, Jim Calhoun and his wife Pat have two sons, James and Jeffrey. James and his wife Jennifer have two daughters, Emily (born 3/5/99) and Katie (born 12/29/00) and a son Samuel Patrick (born 6/8/03). Jeffrey and his wife Amy have two daughters Avery (born 1/26/02) and Reese (born 4/7/03).
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