STORRS, CT- SEPTEMBER 13: Newly named University Of Connecticut basketball coach Kevin Ollie (L) speaks at a news conference basketball coach Jim Calhoun announced his retirement at a news conference on September 13, 2012 in Storrs, Connecticut. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
The news of UConn head coach Jim Calhoun's retirement wasn't surprising. Like the waning Lute Olson era, it appeared for the past few years that health problems were limiting the legendary head coach. The talent for the Huskies was spotty. Sure, there was Jeremy Lamb and Kemba Walker like Arizona had Jerryd Bayless, Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, yet you could see the end of the road coming.
For Arizona, the aftereffect of poor recruiting was this past season. The same couldn't have been far for the Huskies. Naming Kevin Ollie the interim head coach appeared to be a good one; he's earned respect everywhere he's gone, from the NBA to the NCAA.
Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti wanted to keep him around the Thunder as a member of the front office. But will he earn the permanent job?
Perhaps the best comparable to what UConn is about to face, though, is Arizona. Lute Olson also built a program from nothing, also spent a quarter-century putting his imprint on a university, also managed to lure top recruits to an out-of-the-way locale. And Olson's exit was really ugly, with health issues, infighting and broken promises causing a series of awkward assistant coach exits and a one-year interim head coach stint for Russ Pennell when Olson finally stepped down a couple of weeks before the 2008-09 season.
Like Olson did in an unassuming place in Tucson, Calhoun built a monster in Storrs, Conn., and they need to decide on a replacement. So whose name pops up?
- On Thursday, a couple of local Tucson writers noticed that Hartford Courant columnist Jeff Jacobs listed Sean Miller along with VCU's Shaka Smart and Butler's Brad Stevens as powerful names to go after. It seems almost laughable that Miller jumps ship. He didn't do it for Maryland a few years back, and it seems unlikely he'll go for such a similar rebuilding situation at this point in time when he's so far along and has so much unfinished business in Tucson. Essentially, he'd be taking steps backward.
- I missed this news, but after a quick Google search after wondering why I couldn't remember seeing linebacker Rob Hankins on the field this season, this sad news popped up. Hankins has put the football career aside after struggling to recover from concussions, according to Anthony Gimino. It's a growing trend that's beginning to take hold in the college football landscape, and you can't really argue that it's a bad decision.
- In Ted Miller's recent Chat Wrap, he is asked which team's schedules in the Pac-12 South favor them. Not surprisingly, Arizona is not getting any help from its schedule. The Wildcats are the only school between UCLA and ASU to play both Stanford and Oregon. The Wildcats could use a break. Two years ago, they started 7-1 before losing in succession to Stanford, USC, Oregon and ASU. Last year, they had a stretch of Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon, USC and then a fateful Oregon State game. No room to breathe? Not at all. At least in 2012 they won't play the top three Pac-12 teams in a row again.
- Not Arizona news, but something noteworthy. Lane Kiffin apologized for barring LA Daily News columnist Scott Wolf from entering practice after Wolf reported of USC kicker Andre Heidari's knee surgery.