Even before Warde Manuel replaced Jeff Hathaway as UConn's athletic director, the thinking was that whenever Jim Calhoun decided to retire, he'd play a non-trivial role in finding his successor. The most popular name was former Huskies player Kevin Ollie, now an assistant on Calhoun's staff.
But Manuel told the Associated Press Monday that he doesn't favor any coach-in-waiting scenarios, and this comes after he met with Calhoun to discuss the future of the men's basketball program.
"Jim's going to participate in the future direction of the program when he decides that he's not going to coach anymore,” Manuel told the AP. “But at this time, I haven't made a commitment to a coach-in-waiting. That doesn't mean that in the future I wouldn't change my position. But right now, I'm not naming a coach-in-waiting for men's basketball or any program.”
Calhoun spoke in generalities about the situation when reached by the AP. “Warde and I are on the same page. We’re both working for the success of the basketball program.”
In that sense, yes, the two men share a common goal. As to how best reach it, well, that still appears to be up for debate.
When Manuel was hired in February, he said that Calhoun would have some say in who would succeed him on the bench.
“The program that [Calhoun's] built here, he’s earned the ability to have some input and some thought in a significant way into, when that day would happen, what he would like to see; who he would like to see,” Manuel said at the time. “But ultimately, I believe as an athletic director that it has to be the choice of the institution.”
And almost three months later, Manuel's opinion hasn't changed. But it's not a decision he'll have to make in the coming months because he expects Calhoun, days away from his 70th birthday, to return next season.
“I don't sit here wondering on a day-to-day basis who is going to be my coach next year," Manuel said. “Unless something changes that I don't foresee ... Jim's our coach and I'm moving forward in that direction.”