HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut has given men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie a contract extension through the end of the 2017-18 season.
The deal, signed Saturday, is worth just over $7 million and begins Jan. 1. When Ollie was hired in September, he was signed for just one season.
“As I said in my first press conference, I want to be here a lifetime and this is a step, hopefully a great step, in the program moving forward,” Ollie said in a news release announcing the deal.
Ollie, who turned 40 on Thursday, was hired after Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun retired. His original deal had a pro-rated value of just over $465,000, the school said.
Ollie has led UConn to a 9-2 record despite losing five underclassmen from last year’s team after it was announced that the Huskies were academically ineligible for the upcoming postseason.
“I am incredibly impressed with the way Kevin has led our program and his interaction with the administration, his coaching staff, the student athletes and our donors and fans,” said Warde Manuel, the school’s athletic director. “His team has performed incredible on the floor and in the classroom. All these factors contributed to my thinking that the time was right to come to this agreement with Kevin.”
Ollie, who played point guard for Calhoun from 1991-95, was his former coach’s hand-picked successor. He became an assistant at UConn in 2010, after 13 years as an NBA journeyman. He had never been a head coach on any level.
Ollie has quickly established himself with his upbeat and energetic style, running practices that focus on conditioning and accountability.
“Kevin moved gracefully and seamlessly into this position of immense responsibility over the course of the fall,” said school President Susan Herbst. “He demonstrated to us that he is a genuine leader of extraordinary talents.”
Calhoun, who is vacationing in Florida, issued a statement saying the hiring makes him feel “very good about the future of UConn basketball.”
UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma, who is making $1.8 million this year and is in negotiations for an extension, said Ollie remains in a tough position, but will have the support of the entire athletic department.
“He’s going to do the right thing. He’s already proven that,” Auriemma said. “And now he’s going to get an opportunity to recruit and he’s going to get an opportunity to coach.”
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