The career of one of the most successful college basketball coaches is apparently coming to an end. Jim Calhoun will be retiring as the head coach of UConn's men's basketball team, according to NBC Connecticut (and various other sources).
Calhoun spent 26 years as the head coach of the Huskies and won three NCAA National Championships during that time. The Hall of Fame coach won the national championship as recently as 2011 with a squad led by guard Kemba Walker. Calhoun's role as head coach became less of a sure thing in recent years, however. At 70 years old, Calhoun had to take a leave of absence due to health reasons this past season. After suffering a broken hip this past month and UConn facing a 2012-13 postseason ban due to NCAA sanctions, retiring seems like a pretty logical move for Calhoun. He, quite simply, has nothing left to accomplish as a coach.
This, compounded with the news that Notre Dame basketball would be coming to the ACC, is quite a blow for Big East basketball. In recent years, the Big East has been considered the cream of the crop for college basketball and routinely sends the most teams to the NCAA tournament. The future doesn't look quite as bright. It was announced last year that Syracuse and Pittsburgh would be joining the ACC. With the Notre Dame now bringing their hoops to the ACC, the Big East has lost three of its biggest basketball programs.
The question is: can UConn remain a basketball superpower without an elite conference and without the presence of a Hall of Fame coach?
It certainly levels the playing field to a certain degree as far as basketball recruiting in New England is concerned. Steve Donahue has yet another thing that he can pitch to players while he tries to get them to come play for the Eagles. The ACC is getting stronger, while the Big East is getting weaker. Boston College can offer stability as far as leadership goes. Kevin Ollie will be promoted to interim head coach, according to reports, but does that mean he's there for the long haul? Why play for a program that has NCAA sanctions in effect for 2012-13 and has an uncertain coaching future? Jim Calhoun had a fantastic career, but UConn basketball takes a hit today. BC hoops could be the ones who benefit from it all.