STORRS, Conn. (AP) — University of Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun is taking an indefinite medical leave of absence, the school announced on Friday.
The Hall of Fame coach, who turns 70 in May, has been suffering for several months from spinal stenosis, a lower back condition that causes him severe pain and hampers mobility, according to the release.
“Last summer, Jim had some significant back pain and has seen two excellent back specialists,” said Dr. Peter Schulman, Calhoun’s primary care doctor. “The initial approach recommended to him was stretching, physical therapy and exercise, and that was successful for several months. It turns out that there is some degenerative problem in the lumbar vertebrae and it’s impinging on the nerves.”
George Blaney, the team’s associate head coach, will lead the team in Calhoun’s absence. The Huskies (14-7, 4-5 Big East) have lost four games in a row. They host Seton Hall on Saturday before travelling to Louisville Monday.
The school confirmed that Calhoun will miss at least those two games.
“Jim has been able to manage it with the physical therapy and stretching, but over the last several days, things have become worse and he is not able to deal with this on a day to day basis, so other options need to be considered,” Schulman said. “Right now, he is physically unable to coach.”
Calhoun has had a history of health problems. He is a three-time cancer survivor, overcoming prostate cancer in 2003 and skin cancer twice, most recently in 2008.
Calhoun is No. 6 on the all-time wins list with 867. He has won three national championships at Connecticut and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005. He coached the team to its fourth Final Four and third national title last April.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)