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5 Potential UConn Basketball Coaches

by Rob Joyce

March 13, 2018 - 2:53 pm

There will be a new head coach coming to Storrs in the fall. Over the weekend UConn fired Kevin Ollie after six seasons following the Huskies’ 14-18 campaign, missing the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. There is an ongoing case between the two parties, as Ollie was fired for “just cause”. Without getting into legalese, a new face will roam the sidelines of Gampel Pavilion.

As a national search begins, here are five names likely to pop up in the coming weeks to take the reins:

5) Jim Calhoun:

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Legends returning have rarely worked out well, and at 76 the Hall of Famer would be a short-term solution, at best. He’s still an adviser with the university and told USA Today Sports last fall that he “terribly missed coaching on a daily basis”. Right now he’s the basketball consultant at St. Joseph’s in West Hartford, where men’s basketball will establish operations for the 2018-19 season.

4) John Becker:

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The Fairfield native worked his way up from Director of Basketball operations to head coach at Vermont and has seen nothing but success. In seven years in Burlington the Catamounts have seven 20-win seasons. UVM has never finished worse than third in America East, three times won the regular season championship, and twice made the NCAA Tournament, including last year. They were a three-pointer away from making it back-to-back tourney appearances this season.

3) Steve Pikiell:

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From strictly a conference standpoint, Pikiell would be taking a step down from the Big Ten to the American. However, the Bristol native and former UConn point guard and assistant would face far less of a gauntlet than he’s currently seeing at Rutgers. In two years in Piscataway he’s had identical 3-15 conference records, but made the Scarlet Knights far more competitive this year, as seen by a surprise run to the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. That follows a successful stint at Stony Brook in which he turned the Seawolves from a 4-24 team to a perennial 20-win squad.

2) Tom Crean:

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People look at Crean’s time at Indiana with a shrug, but remember the situation in which he was placed. He went to Bloomington in 2008 to a program placed on probation for three years by the NCAA. After a 6-25 campaign in Year One, the Hoosiers were back in the NCAA Tournament by 2012. The issue at IU was his March success – he never made it past the Sweet 16 in four tries – but Crean knows how to coach, and should have a fire in his belly after taking this past year off.

1) Dan Hurley:

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Frankly, the 45-year-old is turning Rhode Island into the best team in New England. He took over a Rams team in 2012-13 coming off a 7-24 season, and change happened quickly. URI won 23 games and made the NIT in Hurley’s third year. They made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1999 last season, and just qualified for the dance again as an at-large this year after going 25-6. A New Jersey native – he’s the son of legendary high school coach Bob Hurley – who played his college ball at Seton Hall and previously turned around Wagner in just two years, Hurley is a northeast guy who would fit in well in Storrs.