Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Kevin Ollie is champion coach in second season
First Published Apr 07 2014 10:16 pm • Last Updated Apr 07 2014 11:30 pm

Arlington, Texas • It’s not that Kevin Ollie looked uncomfortable sitting on a stool in front of the Connecticut bench. It’s just that he looked a lot more comfortable in a defensive stance exhorting the Huskies in the national championship game.

That’s how he spent the majority of the biggest game of his short college coaching career Monday night, a 60-54 victory over Kentucky. Right on the sideline. In some plays he looked like a sixth Connecticut defender.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

He was wearing a suit with a tie. When he was a standout defender in college, he wore a UConn uniform from 1991 to 1995. Then it was off to the NBA for a long career before he returned to UConn for two years as an assistant. Jim Calhoun hand-picked him as his successor.

Maybe he will start a trend in college basketball: a longtime NBA player taking over a program. He was in the NBA for 12 seasons. Never a star but always wanted. Twelve teams and his best scoring season was 8.0 points per game with Seattle in 2002-03.

Players who average 3.8 points per game over 12 seasons usually spend a lot of time on the bench. Ollie did.

"You know what he was doing while he was playing?" Kentucky coach John Calipari asked Sunday. "He was coaching. That’s how he played. He was an unbelievable student of the game."

Seems he learned pretty well.

In only his second season as head coach, he won it all. Steve Fisher is the only coach to win the title in his first season, with Michigan as an interim coach in 1989.

Technically, Ollie did it in his first chance. The Huskies were ineligible for postseason play in 2012-13 over academic issues before he or these players got to Storrs. The players could have transferred. They stayed and won the school’s fourth national championship.

With 5 seconds left and the Huskies up by six, Ollie extended his arms in the air. He turned toward the crowd and let out a scream.


story continues below
story continues below

He exchanged a quick hug with Calipari and shook hands with the Kentucky assistants and players. Then he turned toward the court and started celebrating with his team.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.