Jim Calhoun may be taking the next two weeks to come to some resolution on his coaching future but as far as UConn athletic director Warde Manuel is concerned, Calhoun is his guy until he hears otherwise.
The Hartford Courant's Dom Amore caught up with Manuel late last week after Calhoun told Sports Illustrated "I would be very, very surprised if I didn't have something to say (about my future) within the next two weeks."
Manuel said he hasn't spoken with Calhoun but wasn't interested in trying to ready the 70-year-old coach's mind either.
“I don’t deal in hearsay,” he told Amore, “Until I hear something different from him, Jim is my coach.”
But let's say that Calhoun does finally decide to retire in two weeks time. Surely a replacement's lined up, right?
“Haven’t thought about it,” Manuel said. “… We’ll figure it out.”
We're guessing Manuel has thought about it but it serves no purpose to make those discussions public. Calhoun hasn't hidden the fact that he'd like assistant Kevin Ollie to graduate to the head coaching job but Manuel has made it clear that this won't be a coach-in-waiting situation. But will Calhoun get what he wants? Amore has a theory.
Calhoun, who I’m told met with school president Dr. Susan Herbst (early last) week, and Manuel are at an impasse here, as they have been for several months. Calhoun … wants Ollie to succeed him as head coach and could perhaps force the school’s hand by retiring at the last possible moment. But Manuel has stated and re-stated his determination to preserve his options, to see what established coaches might be available before committing himself. Those familiar with the AD’s thinking say he has high regard for Ollie, but questions whether UConn, with its high national profile, is the place for a first-time head coach.
It's a fair question, for sure. And more than that, Manuel's new to the job. He probably doesn't want one of his first major decisions to be rubber-stamping the final wishes of a retiring coach who, despite all his on-court success, played a non-trivial part in the team's current NCAA sanctions.
We should know more in two weeks. Then again, we've been saying that for months and years.