It seems like we've had this conversation before: amid the annual speculation that this will be the year that Huskies coach Jim Calhoun finally retires, the 70-year-old has made it clear (again) that he has no intentions of leaving the game. At least not yet.
"My contract is for two more years," he said according to CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman.
The coach concedes that 2012-13 won't much resemble the previous two seasons that included an improbable national championship run and a disappointing title defense in 2011-12. "It'll certainly be different this year," Calhoun admitted. "But there are a whole bunch of schools that aren't going to make the NCAA tournament and will still play hard."
He's referring of course to the NCAA sanctions leveled against the program. Due to low APR scores, UConn has been ruled ineligible for postseason play in 2013, which not only affects recruiting, but means that the current players have to enter the season with a different mindset. Last Friday, any glimmer of a reprieve was officially shot down by the NCAA.
"[The committee] reviewed and reaffirmed our current policies and procedures regarding Academic Progress Rate data and implementation of academic penalties and/or postseason eligibility," University of Hartford president Walter Harrison, the chair of the Committee on Academic Performance, said in a statement (via the Hartford Courant)
Also not helping: five players left the program this spring -- two to the NBA (Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond) and three transferred (Alex Oriakhi, Roscoe Smith and Michael Bradley).
"We'll have to play different," Calhoun said via Goodman, adding "I still think we have chance to be pretty good this season."
But that's Calhoun -- despite the gruff exterior he's forever optimistic. That help explains how he took a school with no basketball program to speak of and a quarter-century later had three national titles.
In June, Calhoun was noncommittal on his future but hinted at what most of us already suspected: he wasn't going anywhere.
“It’s really not worth asking … right now, everything we’re doing is planning on next year," he said at the time. "Last year, quite frankly, after the championship, there was time to pause. ‘OK, you’re at this particular pinnacle, what do you do from here?’ But right now … I really don’t start thinking about the road trips, etc., until August or September ... The important thing is how I feel as a coach, and am I able to give my kids everything I possibly can. The fact that I have two years on my contract doesn’t mean anything … there’s really nothing to talk about, in my mind. If I decide it’s not the year, it’s not the year. I love the staff, love the kids coming in, love the guys coming back."