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Jim Calhoun to Retire

Winner of the LBJ look-alike contest, and a whole LOT of college basketball games!

One of the greatest coaches to ever grace the hardwood is retiring from the game of Basketball.  The Connecticut Huskies head coach, Jim Calhoun, has decided that it is time to retire after over 4 decades of mastering his profession.  Connecticut’s NBC 30 was the first station to break the news that the legend was ready to call it quits after 26 years of dominating the Big East and most of everyone else in the NCAA.  Coach Calhoun didn’t just win Championships and Conference titles, he became a face to look up to and he represented the game of basketball as well as anyone ever has.

Jim showing his opponents what a net looks like.

Growing up a St. John’s fan, I watched a lot of Big East games and if you followed the Big East from any time after 1985, you knew exactly who Jim Calhoun was.  Jim always had his squads among the elite teams in all of the NCAA.  Throughout his collegiate coaching career, Calhoun won 3 NCAA National Championships, 1 NIT Championship, 7 Big East Tournaments, 9 Big East Regular Season’s, and 4 America East Tournaments (whilst coaching Northeastern from 1972-86).  Calhoun won his third National Championship most recently during the 2010-11 season, when his Huskies beat the Butler Bulldogs 53-41.  One of Calhoun’s biggest accomplishments was when he won his 800th game as a head coach back in 2009.  Jim Calhoun is retiring as the 10th all-time winningest coach in NCAA history with 875 victories.

A Momma’s boy, and that’s said with pride!

With all of his accolades it’s no surprise that Jim Calhoun was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2005.  While Coach Calhoun will be remembered most for his incredible coaching resume, he was way more than just a Basketball coach.  Jim lost his father to heart disease when he was 15 years old and helped take responsibility for his 5 siblings and his mother.  He was so dedicated to his family that he dropped out of college after just 3 months just to get multiple jobs so he could help his mother.  After two years of working, Jim went back to school where he went on to set many collegiate basketball records.

No headlines, no celebrity press, no criminal indictments. You wonder how he managed to stay in college ball.

Calhoun got his first college coaching job in 1971 and instantaneously turned a Division II Northeastern University into a respectable Division I school.  In 1986, he was signed by UConn and the rest is history.  Calhoun was the first coach in NCAA history to have won at least 240 games at two different Division I schools.  His credentials are endless and even though he could have sat back and enjoyed his wealth by relaxing, he decided to make a name for himself in the world of philanthropy.  Jim Calhoun always found ways to incorporate his life’s pains and turn them into ways to help others.  His father died of heart disease, so he and his wife decided to donate a lot of money and open the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn.  He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003, so, in that same year, he served as a celebrity host of the black tie gala “Hoops For Hope“, by Coaches vs. Cancer, a program established in 1993 by the American Cancer Society.  He grew up in a poor family where he struggled to put food on the table, so he created the annual Jim Calhoun Holiday Food Drive, which has raised nearly $1 million supporting food assistance agencies that serve to help families in need throughout the State of Connecticut.  Get my point?  The man is a saint!

That’s one small step for Jim, one giant loss for sports.

When inducted into the Hall of Fame back in 2005, Calhoun said, “Basketball is a game that has blessed me. It’s a game that’s consumed me, that’s given me so much. Basketball doesn’t care what color your skin is. It doesn’t care what language you speak or what religion you practice. It doesn’t care if you’re big or small, fast or slow. It just asks you to play, to compete, to lose with dignity, to win with humility.”  Well Jim, by being the class act that you were throughout your 4 decades coaching basketball, you have blessed us all.  You will be missed.

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