Kevin Ollie's not going anywhere. Despite weeks of speculation and rumors, the Huskies' second-year coach, fresh off a national title, is staying in Storrs. On Thursday, he signed a five-year deal that's expected to pay him about $3 million annually, and to hear everybody with a vested interest -- Ollie himself, the university, fans, players -- it's fantastic news.
“Kevin Ollie is the right person to lead our men’s basketball team into the future,” UConn President Susan Herbst said in a statement released by the school. “Kevin has done a remarkable job as our head coach over the past two years and also during his time as a UConn student-athlete and assistant coach. He is a person of utmost character and leadership and embodies everything we stand for here at the University of Connecticut.”
Athletic Director Warde Manuel sounded a similar tone.
“I am very happy that Kevin Ollie will continue to direct our men’s basketball program. It is a great day for the University of Connecticut and for Kevin. Kevin has accomplished a great deal during his first two seasons as our head coach both on and off the court and I am very excited about the future of our program.”
And to think, when Jim Calhoun retired before the 2012-13 season, Ollie was hired on an interim basis. Now, 18 months later, he's considered one of the best coaches in the game, one who will remain a target for NBA teams, too. But true to his word, Ollie's not going anywhere because there's still plenty of work to be done.
“I’m very pleased that we were able to agree to a new contract and that we’ll be able to continue to build upon the success we’ve had,” the coach said. “It’s a humbling experience to be around the UConn fans and the UConn family and to know that I am their basketball coach for the foreseeable future. I’m very proud of that. UConn is a place that I love and as I’ve told everyone throughout the season and through all the recent speculation, this is where my heart is. This is where I wanted to be.
“I’m very thankful to President Herbst and Warde Manuel for showing confidence in me and my coaching staff. It’s the student-athletes who have sacrificed to uphold the standards we have set at UConn and done such a terrific job. I’m happy and excited to be able to continue to invest in their basketball careers and their lives.”