NCAA

UConn gives first-year basketball coach Ollie extension

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Associated Press
12/29/2012 6:20:14 PM
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HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut has given men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie a new contract that runs 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.

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 post-season.

"He's shown that he can coach, that he can lead this team on the court, and academically," athletic director Warde Manuel said. "He's the epitome of an UConn Husky."

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.

But, he had never been a head coach on any level. Manuel said that's why he waited before tendering a multi-year offer, even though he knew it could have a negative impact on recruiting.

"I'm sure it didn't help, the short-term nature of the deal," Manuel said. "But I wanted the opportunity to see Kevin and get a sense of who he was for the long term."

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," school President Susan Herbst said. "He demonstrated to us that he is a genuine leader of extraordinary talents."

The contract also includes some stiff penalties should UConn in the future again fail to meet the minimum standards for the NCAA Academic Progress Rate.

Ollie would forfeit two weeks' salary and all post-season payments. Two consecutive years of substandard APR scores would be grounds for termination.

"I agreed to it because I have a belief system in my student athletes," Ollie said. "We're students first and we're going to get it done."

Those sanctions would be eliminated from the contract once UConn's four-year APR climbs above 930, Manuel said.

Ollie will receive $1.2 million in 2013. His base salary will be $400,000 and rest will be for speaking and media appearances. The payments increase annually to $1.4 million by 2017.

Kevin Ollie (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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