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Entries in Jim Calhoun (2)


Jim Calhoun, UConn Accused Of NCAA Violations

Jim Calhoun

Bar Association Honors Coach
As Two Assistants Resign

One Great Season

I'd never wish ill on anyone, but at the same time, seeing Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun get busted for at least eight alleged NCAA violations doesn't bother me one bit.

There's no doubt he's an excellent coach who's done great things for his community, but I couldn't help but feel the need for a shower after watching him condescendingly dress down Ken Krayeske last year. Krayeske is the freelance writer whose ill-timed inquiry into Calhoun's $1.6 million salary during a $1 billion state budget shortfall led to an embarrassing 72 seconds that will forever live on YouTube.

Living in Big East country, I watch UConn on television regularly and have seen many of the Huskies' games since that February 2009 episode. One thing I always keep an eye on is the postgame handshake, and that surly 68-year-old might be the poorest loser I've ever seen.

Krayeske surely was out of his league and perhaps a more formal interview could have been scheduled privately. But I think I read somewhere that the writer did try to arrange a meeting and was denied, leaving a post-win press conference as the only available venue for Krayeske's investigation.

But now, Calhoun is beginning his Memorial Day weekend by sounding like he's auditioning for a PR job, saying he and his school "look forward to working with the NCAA" after being accused of failing to "promote an atmosphere of compliance." He's also got to start looking for two new assistants to replace the ones who stepped down this week as the NCAA's notice was approaching. Coincidence?

Calhoun stuttered carefully at a news conference Friday morning, conceding nothing while saying twice, "...if, in fact, we did make mistakes..." UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway said the school "takes the matter very seriously," but making this whole thing kind of funny is that just last night, Calhoun was honored by, of all organizations, The Connecticut Bar Association.


No. 9: Duke vs. Connecticut, 1999

UConn wins the 1999 national championship

Each Monday until the national championship is played in Indianapolis on April 5, One Great Season will count down the Top 10 National Championship games since 1979, when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson squared off in Salt Lake City. Today's No. 9 is the 1999 championship game between Connecticut and Duke, played in St. Petersburg, Fla.

One Great Season

Connecticut and Duke were the only teams to be ranked No. 1 during the 1998-99 regular season, so when the Huskies and Blue Devils won their Final Four semifinal games on March 27, expectations for a great title game shot through the roof of Tropicana Field.

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And the sides didn't disappoint two nights later. UConn won its first national championship, 77-74, over a seemingly unbeatable Duke team that was playing in its eighth title game.

The Blue Devils hadn't lost since November and were going for an NCAA record 38 victories, as well as the school's third national championship.

Connecticut, meanwhile, was a fairly new player in the elite class of college basketball. The Huskies got to the Elite Eight to open the 1990s, only to lose to Duke when Christian Laettner's buzzer-beater sent the Devils to the Final Four.

But to close the decade during which Duke won two national titles, Connecticut earned its first crown for coach Jim Calhoun by playing an up-tempo game that many thought would have favored Duke's more athletic players.

The Huskies, however, got 27 points from All-American Richard Hamilton, as well as two huge defensive stops late in the game.

Connecticut's Ricky Moore, one of the top defenders in the country, got great positioning to force Duke's sharpshooting guard, Trajan Langdon, into a late traveling violation. Moments later, UConn's Khalid El-Amin converted two free throws to stretch the Huskies' lead to 77-74 with 5.2 seconds left.

And when Duke looked for Langdan on its final possession, the fifth-year senior couldn't even get a potential game-tying shot launched because he fell near the three-point arc and lost control of the ball.

With that, UConn had its crown and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was left to ponder a sixth title-game loss.

The Top 10 National Championship Games Since 1979

+ No. 10: Indiana State vs. Michigan State, 1979