NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Since UConn coach Jim Calhoun won his third national championship six weeks ago there have been parades, dinners, awards, a couple of days off and a visit to the White House.
One thing that hasn’t crossed his busy schedule is time to think about retirement. And he’s glad about that.
“I have been on the road 22 out of the last 26 days and I am not complaining for a second,” he said Wednesday before receiving another of those honors, this one a Winged Foot Award that he received along with Texas A&M women’s coach Gary Blair by the New York Athletic Club for winning the national titles.
“I’ll have a day in the office tomorrow and then it’s to the Jimmy V where I get to introduce (North Carolina coach) Roy Williams on Friday, Dick Vitale’s cookout on Saturday, and Sunday and Monday are the Big East meetings,” Calhoun said quickly, as if he’d recited it more than a few times. “The end of this month I’m pretty good. Then I can do more reflection.”
The Hall of Fame coach offered what those thoughtful times will bring up. He talked of a picture he had framed of Kemba Walker’s winning shot against Pittsburgh in the Big East tournament. He asked the All-America junior guard, who will leave early for the NBA draft, to sign it.
“He talks about me making him a man. Some very nice things. You know how he signed it? ‘Forever your son,’” the 68-year-old Calhoun said, his voice showing some emotion. “That would be the reason I want to continue coaching. If I can have an impact on a great kid like Kemba then I’m doing something worthwhile.
“Not that I couldn’t find fulfillment in the charities I am involved with or that I couldn’t stay in basketball with the Hall of Fame or as an ambassador for UConn, which the new president has talked with me about. What I’m trying to do is sift through the ‘Forever your son,’ and when Ray (Allen) called me after he broke Reggie Miller’s 3-point record, all the good things that have happened. There are plenty of things I can do but when it all gets down to it, for pure enjoyment, this year is too close, the afterglow is still too good, so I have to get a little more distance away from it.”
Calhoun and his family will take a vacation in June.
“Ten days at the beach, that will be a good time for all that,” he said.
Calhoun took the Huskies to the White House this week for a visit with President Obama. It was his third trip there, each with a different president.
The recent killing of Osama bin Laden made this visit unlike the others.
“I got to spend some private time with the president,” Calhoun said. “We talked — and believe me I am not comparing what we do in any way — we made general observations about doing your job and allowing your character, listening to others, having good people around you, can all dictate what you do. If you do things just to please people it’s not going to happen.”
Calhoun said the players were impressed with the president’s knowledge of basketball — even though he didn’t pick the Huskies to win it all in his bracket.
“The warmth he showed me and everyone else, he really captivated the room,” Calhoun said.
The 39 seasons as a head coach, the three national titles, the seven Big East championships, the All-Americans and the NBA players will all go into Calhoun’s decision to return or retire.
So will the three-game suspension awaiting him next season over the program’s violations of NCAA rules.
“You remember all the great things that have happened to you and you remember some of the not-so-good days,” he said. “I don’t want to look at positives and negatives. I want to look at realism. What will I feel like when I step on the court next year? I don’t know that right now. All I know is, right now, I’m in a dream world.”
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