It's been 12 months since Jim Calhoun has retired, leaving the program that he took a quarter-century to build in the capable hands of Kevin Ollie. A year later, Calhoun, 71, doesn't hide the fact that he misses the game, but concedes that he's now in the next phase of his life.
"It seems like I have to tap-dance for people to believe I'm happy," Calhoun told the Hartford Courant's Dom Amore. "But I'm happy. … I gave up the keys to the car for all the right reasons. I felt it was the right time. … But it's hard to be swimming in a particular direction and then have to stand. You don't know kind of what to do. You've done something for 40-something years, I'm used to waking up at five o'clock in the morning and solving problems, setting up my day mentally."
Calhoun no longer spends long stretches preparing for opponents or hitting the recruiting trail, but he still has plenty to keep him busy in his role as adviser to Athletic Director Warde Manuel and as coach emeritus.
"My day kind of fills up," he told Amore. "I can do anything but step onto the floor and give instruction. … But if a player sits down next to me … I can certainly talk to my former players. I tell DeAndre Daniels all the time, for instance, 'don't worry about how much you weigh, worry about how strong you are.'"
Calhoun also made sure to talk with Tyler Olander, the Huskies big man who has been suspended indefinitely following a second run-in with the law in eight months.
"With all those things I'm doing and things I've done the last year, I truly believe the void of basketball is one I'm having a difficult time filling," Calhoun admitted. "I spent a few minutes out there this morning talking to [Shabazz Napier]; I spent some time with Tyler. I miss the game, the game itself, the way guys can improve. I gave the keys up to the car for all the right reasons. … But there's a little itch there, about basketball and the kids. I've talked to people, I don't know how to scratch that itch. I will. I'll find a way to scratch that itch."