ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07: Head coach Kevin Ollie of the Connecticut Huskies holds the trophy after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 in the NCAA Men's Final Four Championship at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Kevin Ollie's mother, Dorothy, was with her son Tuesday night when he was presented with the St. Francis Award. In November, Dorothy was diagnosed with breast and lung cancer but two surgeries and several months of chemotherapy has her close to her previous form.
“She’s out of the house, so that’s a good thing,” Ollie, smiling, said via the Connecticut News' William Paxton. “She was excited to come here. This is probably her third time out of the house, so this is a great place for her to come with all this Franciscan life and just everybody who’s here and what this stands for. I think it will be a wonderful night for her. ...
“She looks great. That’s where I get my toughness from. She had a couple tough days, but she got through it. She’s a tough lady and she’s full with faith. It’s great to have her getting back to her old self.”
Dorothy, 80, lived with Ollie while she battled cancer, but the coach was able to keep his personal life separate from his professional one.
“It was difficult, but at the end of the day life is not built on feelings,” he said. “It’s built on principles and I made a commitment to UConn and whatever I go through, I have to do my job. We ask our guys to do the same thing, so if they have a bad day or a family (thing), they have to come in and practice and play the right way. I try to live my life the same way, so I came in and that’s kind of my sanctuary to get away from everything for two or three hours. Just really concentrate on making them better basketball players and better people.”