|Jim Calhoun addresses the media as St. Joseph University president Rhonda Free looks on.
Photo by David B. Newman Photography
St. Joseph (Conn.), which announced that it would add men's athletics earlier this summer, made an even splashier announcement this week. Former University of Connecticut head coach and Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun will help the West Hartford-based school build its new men's basketball program as it transitions to a co-ed institution in 2018-19.
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The University announced that Calhoun will advise President Rhonda Free "on all aspects of establishing operations for the men's basketball team for fall 2018" when the first male undergraduate students enroll at the school.
"In 1986, when Jim Calhoun accepted the job as head men's basketball coach at UConn, he famously said he thought succeeding in that role and putting UConn on the college basketball map was 'doable.' We all know what a historic success that turned out to be," Free said in the University's release. "Today, we are grateful that he will apply his expertise to set our program up for success from the start."
Calhoun was UConn's head coach for 26 seasons during which he won 625 games and national championships in 1999, 2004 and 2011. Combined with his 14 years as head coach at Division I Northeastern, Calhoun won 873 games over 40 seasons as a head coach, ninth most all-time in NCAA basketball.
With ties to St. Joseph Athletic Director Bill Cardarelli, Calhoun was initially rumored to be a candidate for the Bluejays' head coaching position. Before Cardarelli became St. Joseph's first athletic director, he was a member of Calhoun's coaching staff at UConn in 1986. Cardarelli built the Bluejays' women's basketball program and was its head coach from 1994-1998 during which he went 66-37.
Calhoun retired as UConn's head coach in 2012 but he is still a full-time state employee as special assistant to the university's director of athletics. As a part-time employee at St. Joseph, he will work with his former associate head coach Glen Miller. Miller led Connecticut College to the Division III national semifinal in 1999 and then became the head coach at Brown and the University of Pennsylvania. St. Joseph named Miller Associate Director of Men's Basketball.
Other prominent New England coaches have also spent time at the Division III level later in their career. Chris Ford was the head coach at Brandeis for two seasons after coaching in the NBA for nine-plus seasons. Jim O'Brien coached Emerson for three seasons after a lengthy career at Boston College and Ohio State University.