Jim Calhoun

Jim Calhoun
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1942-05-10) May 10, 1942
Braintree, Massachusetts
Playing career
1965–1968 American International
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1972–1986 Northeastern
1986–2012 Connecticut
Head coaching record
Overall 873–380 (.697)
Tournaments 50–19 (NCAA)
Accomplishments and honors
NCAA Division I Tournament Championships (1999, 2004, 2011)
NIT championship (1988)
NCAA Regional Championships – Final Four (1999, 2004, 2009, 2011)
Big East Tournament championships (1990, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2011)
10× Big East regular season championships (1990, 1994–1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2005 (profile)
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

James A. Calhoun (born May 10, 1942)[1] is the former head coach of the University of Connecticut men's basketball team. His teams won three NCAA national championships (1999, 2004, 2011), played in four Final Fours (most recently in 2011), won the 1988 NIT title, and seven Big East tournament championships (1990, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2011). With his team's 2011 NCAA title win, the 68-year-old Calhoun became the oldest coach to win a Division I men's basketball title.[2] He won his 800th game in 2009 and finished his career with 873 victories, ranking 12th all-time as of Feb. 2015. Calhoun is one of only five coaches in NCAA Division I history to win three or more championships and is widely considered one of the greatest coaches of all time.[3][4] In 2005, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.


A self-described Irish Catholic,[5] Calhoun was born and raised in Braintree, Massachusetts, where he was a standout on the basketball, football, and baseball teams at Braintree High School. After his father died of a heart attack when Calhoun was 15, he was left to watch over his large family that included five siblings.

Early career and education

Although he received a basketball scholarship to Lowell State, he only attended the school for three months after which he returned home to help support his mother and siblings. He worked as a granite cutter, headstone engraver, scrapyard worker, shampoo factory worker, and gravedigger.

After a 20-month leave from higher education, Calhoun returned to college, this time at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he was given another basketball scholarship. He was the leading scorer on the team his junior and senior seasons, and captained the team in his final year, during which AIC advanced to the Division II playoffs. At the time he graduated, he was ranked as the fourth all-time scorer at AIC. Calhoun graduated in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in sociology.[6]

Health problems

On February 3, 2003, Calhoun announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He took an immediate leave of absence from the team, and underwent surgery three days later to have his prostate removed. He was released from the hospital on February 9 and within days was once again involved in the day-to-day operation of the program. On February 22 Jim Calhoun returned to the sidelines for the team's match-up with St. John's at Gampel Pavilion, only 16 days after the surgery.

On May 30, 2008, UConn announced that Calhoun was undergoing treatment for squamous cell carcinoma.[7]

On June 13, 2009, Calhoun fell during a charity bike event and broke five ribs.[8]

On January 19, 2010, Calhoun took a leave of absence from the team again due to health reasons. Calhoun had a "serious" condition that he wanted to discuss with his family.[9] Calhoun returned to the court to coach the Huskies on February 13.

On February 3, 2012, Calhoun took a medical leave of absence from coaching as a result of spinal stenosis.[10] He returned on March 3, 2012, less than a week after having back surgery, to coach the team to a win over Pittsburgh in the final game of the regular season.[11]

After a left hip fracture he received while bike riding on August 4, 2012, Calhoun had surgery that same day.[12]

Personal life

Calhoun and his wife, Pat, live in Pomfret, Connecticut, have been married since 1967, and have two sons and six grandchildren. They also have purchased a home on Long Island Sound in Madison, Connecticut.

The couple, both of whom lost parents to heart disease, are known for their philanthropy, including the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn and 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. In 1998, a $125,000 gift from Jim Calhoun and his wife Pat established the Jim and Pat Calhoun Cardiology Research Fund at UConn Health Center. The Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament was launched in 1999 and has since raised millions in support of the endowment fund. In 2003 & 2004, Coach Calhoun served as celebrity host of the black tie gala "Hoops For Hope", by Coaches vs. Cancer, a program established in 1993 by the American Cancer Society; the events raised over $400,000 for the ACS. 2007 is the first year of The Big Y Jim Calhoun Cancer Challenge Ride statewide event to benefit The Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center; the ride raised over $225,000.


For many years Calhoun has been the Honorary Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, which has generated over $4.5 million to fund diabetes research. Coach Calhoun has also served as an Honorary Chairperson/Director for other charitable programs including the Ronald McDonald House Kids Classic Golf Tournament, the Ray of Hope Foundation Golf Tournament, the Connecticut Children's Medical Center and Children's Miracle Network, and the "Character Counts" program in the state of Connecticut.


Coaching career

High school

Jim Calhoun began his coaching career at Lyme-Old Lyme High School in Old Lyme, Connecticut in the 1968–1969 season after accepting a sixth grade teaching position in that town over the summer. After finishing 1–17 that season, Calhoun returned to Massachusetts after deciding not to complete the necessary certification paperwork to renew his teaching contract (he was certified in Massachusetts and working in Conn. only on a temporary certificate). After one season at Westport (Massachusetts) High, he accepted a position at Dedham High School and began building a very strong program. He completed a 20–1 season in 1971.

In 1972 he helped his Dedham High School team have a perfect season (18–0) and win the Massachusetts High school Bay State Championship.


Calhoun was recruited by Northeastern University in Boston to serve as their new head coach. He took the position in October 1972. He transitioned the team from Division II to Division I in 1979.

The team advanced to the Division I tournament 4 times under Calhoun. During his final three seasons, Northeastern achieved automatic bids to the NCAA tournament and had a 72–19 record. He received six regional Coach of the Year accolades at Northeastern and remains the institution's all-time winningest coach (245–138).

Former Boston Celtics captain Reggie Lewis, who played for Calhoun at Northeastern, was a first-round pick in the 1987 NBA draft.


On May 14, 1986, Calhoun was named the head coach at the University of Connecticut. After completing his first season just 9–19, Calhoun led the Huskies to a 20–14 record in 1988 and a bid to National Invitation Tournament, where they defeated Ohio State to win the NIT championship. In 1990, Calhoun was named the consensus National Coach of the Year after leading the Huskies to their first Big East championship, the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, and a 29–6 record in only his fourth year at the helm.

Calhoun won his first NCAA national championship in 1999, as he led UConn to its first-ever Final Four and national championship over favored Duke in St. Petersburg, Florida. Future NBA standout Richard "Rip" Hamilton led the team to a 77–74 victory. Earlier that year, he'd passed Hugh Greer to become the winningest coach in UConn history.

Calhoun led the Huskies to another national championship in 2004, at the conclusion of a season that saw UConn start and complete the year as the number one team in the nation. UConn standouts Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon were selected No. 2 and No. 3 in the NBA Draft, respectively. Calhoun now holds a 35–12 record with UConn in NCAA tournament play including 6–1 in the Final Four. They lost in the first round for the first time on March 21, 2008 in overtime to San Diego.

During the Jim Calhoun era, the UConn Huskies have done well in the Big East Conference with an impressive 220–112 record (.665 winning percentage). The Huskies have won or shared conference titles in 1990, 1994–1996, 1998–1999, 2002, 2003 and 2005–2006. UConn has also won seven Big East Men's Basketball Tournament championships in 1990, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, and 2011.

On March 2, 2005 he achieved his 700th win at Gampel Pavilion over the Georgetown Hoyas. His friend and Big East rival coach Jim Boeheim also won his 700th game during the previous week. Later in 2005, Coach Calhoun was honored by induction into the Dr. James Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame, fittingly, along with Jim Boeheim. On February 25, 2009, he achieved his 800th win at the Bradley Center over Marquette.

Calhoun was the first coach in NCAA history to have won at least 240 games at two different Division I schools.[14] Eddie Sutton later achieved this same feat.

Calhoun has coached 23 UConn players who have moved on to professional ranks.[15]

Calhoun signed a 5-year, $16 million contract until 2014.[16]

On April 4, 2011, Calhoun won his 3rd NCAA Men's Championship as the Connecticut Huskies defeated the Butler Bulldogs 53–41. The victory over Butler made Calhoun, at 68, the oldest coach to win an NCAA Division I men's basketball title. With the win, Calhoun joined John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Bob Knight, and Mike Krzyzewski as the only coaches to win at least 3 national championships.

On September 13, 2012, Calhoun announced his retirement and the head coaching position was given to assistant coach Kevin Ollie, who eventually was named the permanent head coach.


In March 2009, the NCAA investigated potential violations in UConn's recruitment of Nate Miles (a scholarship recipient expelled without ever playing a single game for the Huskies).[17] The NCAA eventually determined that a former UConn team manager, who was attempting to become an NBA agent, helped guide Miles to UConn by giving him lodging, transportation and meals. The former team manager, Josh Nochism, was deemed a UConn representative under NCAA rules and his actions were therefore ascribed to UConn. As a result, in February 2011, Calhoun was cited by the NCAA for failing to create an atmosphere of compliance, and suspended for the first three Big East games of 2011–2012 season. The NCAA's chairman of the Committee on Infractions stated, after the penalty was announced, that "[t]he head coach should be aware, but, also in the same frame, the head coach obviously cannot be aware of everything that goes on within the program. However, the head coach bears that responsibility."[18] The school admitted that it had committed major NCAA violations.[19]

Former players

Thirty-one of Coach Calhoun's former players moved on to professional careers in the National Basketball Association, the Continental Basketball Association, or other national and international leagues: (with draft team from earliest to most recent)

  1. 1987: Reggie LewisBoston Celtics captain
  2. 1989: Clifford RobinsonPortland Trail Blazers
  3. 1990: Nadav HenefeldMaccabi Tel Aviv
  4. 1990: Tate GeorgeNew Jersey Nets
  5. 1992: Chris SmithMinnesota Timberwolves
  6. 1993: Scott BurrellCharlotte Hornets
  7. 1994: Donyell MarshallMinnesota Timberwolves
  8. 1995: Kevin OllieConnecticut Pride, CBA; Dallas Mavericks
  9. 1995: Donny MarshallCleveland Cavaliers
  10. 1996: Ray AllenMilwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat
  11. 1996: Travis KnightChicago Bulls
  12. 1996: Doron ShefferLos Angeles Clippers, Maccabi Tel Aviv
  13. 1999: Richard HamiltonWashington Wizards, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls
  14. 2000: Khalid El-AminChicago Bulls
  15. 2000: Jake VoskuhlPhoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Bobcats, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors
  16. 2002: Caron ButlerMiami Heat, Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks
  17. 2004: Emeka OkaforCharlotte Bobcats, New Orleans Hornets, Washington Wizards, Phoenix Suns
  18. 2004: Ben GordonChicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Bobcats
  19. 2005: Charlie VillanuevaToronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons
  20. 2006: Hilton ArmstrongNew Orleans Hornets
  21. 2006: Josh BooneNew Jersey Nets
  22. 2006: Denham BrownSeattle SuperSonics
  23. 2006: Rudy GayHouston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings
  24. 2006: Marcus WilliamsNew Jersey Nets, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies
  25. 2009: A. J. PriceIndiana Pacers, Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves
  26. 2009: Hasheem ThabeetMemphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder
  27. 2010: Jeff AdrienGolden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Charlotte Bobcats
  28. 2011: Kemba WalkerCharlotte Hornets
  29. 2012: Andre DrummondDetroit Pistons
  30. 2012: Jeremy LambHouston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Charlotte Hornets
  31. 2014: Shabazz NapierMiami Heat, Orlando Magic


Calhoun retired as Connecticut's basketball coach on September 13, 2012, closing a 26-year career at UConn.[20]

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Northeastern Huskies (Unknown/ECAC North/North Atlantic Conference) (1972–1986)
1972–73 Northeastern 19–7
1973–74 Northeastern 12–11
1974–75 Northeastern 12–12
1975–76 Northeastern 12–13
1976–77 Northeastern 12–14
1977–78 Northeastern 14–12
1978–79 Northeastern 13–13
1979–80 Northeastern 19–8 19–7 T–1st
1980–81 Northeastern 24–6 21–5 1st NCAA Second Round
1981–82 Northeastern 23–7 8–1 1st NCAA Second Round
1982–83 Northeastern 13–15 4–6 6th
1983–84 Northeastern 27–5 14–0 1st NCAA First Round
1984–85 Northeastern 22–9 13–3 T–1st NCAA First Round
1985–86 Northeastern 26–5 16–2 1st NCAA First Round
Northeastern: 248–137 (.644) 95–24 (.798)
Connecticut Huskies (Big East Conference) (1986–2012)
1986–87 Connecticut 9–19 3–13 T–8th
1987–88 Connecticut 20–14 4–12 9th NIT Champions
1988–89 Connecticut 18–13 6–10 T–7th NIT Quarterfinals
1989–90 Connecticut 31–6 12–4 T–1st NCAA Elite Eight
1990–91 Connecticut 20–11 9–7 3rd NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1991–92 Connecticut 20–10 10–8 T–3rd NCAA Second Round
1992–93 Connecticut 15–13 9–9 T–4th NIT First Round
1993–94 Connecticut 29–5 16–2 1st NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1994–95 Connecticut 28–5 16–2 1st NCAA Elite Eight
1995–96 Connecticut 30–2 17–1 1st (BE 6) NCAA Sweet Sixteen*
1996–97 Connecticut 18–15 7–11 6th (BE 6) NIT Third Place
1997–98 Connecticut 32–5 15–3 1st (BE 6) NCAA Elite Eight
1998–99 Connecticut 34–2 16–2 1st NCAA Champions
1999–00 Connecticut 25–10 10–6 T–3rd NCAA Second Round
2000–01 Connecticut 20–12 8–8 T–3rd (East) NIT Second Round
2001–02 Connecticut 27–7 13–3 1st (East) NCAA Elite Eight
2002–03 Connecticut 23–10 10–6 T–1st (East) NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2003–04 Connecticut 33–6 12–4 2nd NCAA Champions
2004–05 Connecticut 23–8 13–3 T–1st NCAA Second Round
2005–06 Connecticut 30–4 14–2 T–1st NCAA Elite Eight
2006–07 Connecticut 17–14 6–10 8th
2007–08 Connecticut 24–9 13–5 3rd NCAA First Round
2008–09 Connecticut 31–5 15–3 2nd NCAA Final Four
2009–10 Connecticut 18–16 7–11 T–11th NIT Second Round
2010–11 Connecticut 32–9 9–9 9th NCAA Champions
2011–12 Connecticut 18–13 (20–14)[21] 6–9 (8–10)[21] 9th NCAA First Round
Connecticut: 625–243 (.720) 276–163 (.629)
Total: 873–380 (.697)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

* Connecticut had its 2–1 record in the 1996 NCAA tournament and Sweet Sixteen appearance vacated after two players were ruled ineligible.

As of April 5, 2013, Jim Calhoun has a 50–19 (.725) record in the NCAA Tournament, going 2–5 (.286) while at Northeastern and 48–14 (.774) at the University of Connecticut.

See also


  1. "Calhoun, Jim". Current Biography Yearbook 2011. Ipswich, Massachusetts: H.W. Wilson. 2011. pp. 106–109. ISBN 9780824211219.
  2. Wise, Mike (April 5, 2011). "Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun just won't go away". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  3. http://basketball.about.com/od/coaches/a/multiple-championships.htm
  4. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1341064-10-greatest-coaches-in-ncaa-basketball-history
  5. "A Life Spent Coaching | The Official Website of Coach Jim Calhoun". www.CoachJimCalhoun.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  6. Archived March 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. "Calhoun being treated for skin cancer, wants to continue coaching". ESPN. May 30, 2008.
  8. Mike Anthony (June 13, 2009). "Calhoun Breaks 5 Ribs, Collapses At Charity Bike Event". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 13, 2009.
  9. "UConn hoops coach Calhoun taking medical leave". Associated Press. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  10. ESPN News Services. "Jim Calhoun on indefinite medical leave". ESPN. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  11. ESPN News Services. "Jim Calhoun returns to coach UConn". ESPN. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  12. "Calhoun's Hip Surgery Likely Won't Stop Him From A Return To Coaching". CBS News New York. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  13. "UConn Huskies Calhoun bio". Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
  14. CNNSI.com, March 23, 1999 "Calhoun riding an emotional wave to St. Pete"
  15. "UConn Huskies Calhoun bio". Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved Nov 15, 2008.
  16. LeAnne Gendreau (2010-05-07). "Calhoun, UConn Agree to Contract Until 2014". NBC Connecticut. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  17. "NCAA committee bans Jim Calhoun of Connecticut Huskies from three Big East games – ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2011-02-23. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  18. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=6146656
  19. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=5662321
  20. EATON-ROBB, Pat. "UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun retires". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  21. 1 2
    • As a result of the 2011 NCAA sanctions imposed on Calhoun for recruiting violations, the 2–1 record compiled by Connecticut while Calhoun served his three game suspension was credited to assistant coach George Blaney. AP (January 5, 2012). "Jim Calhoun not credited with wins". ESPN. Retrieved January 6, 2012.


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