It's official: Kevin Ollie and UConn have agreed to a five-year deal, which will pay him roughly $3 million a year, nearly double what he was making when he led the Huskies to a national championship last month, the university announced on Thursday. ESPN first reported the news earlier in the day.
"My heart is here at UConn,'' said Ollie. "I want to stay invested in the student-athletes lives on and off the court. I want to be here.''
And Ollie tweeted this Thursday:
Thank you God for opening up so many Doors, for me to be working in Storrs!! Make today Matter!! UConn Love.. — Kevin Ollie (@CoachKO_UConn) May 22, 2014
Hopefully, this will end the speculation that Ollie, who spent 13 years as an NBA player, will be leaving any time soon to coach in the professional ranks. He's made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that his future is in Storrs, at least for now.
In recent days, there was a report that the Cleveland Cavaliers wanted Ollie, and another report that suggested Ollie would want to be paid more than $5 million per season, based on what Golden St. was giving Steve Kerr, its newest coach who has no previous coaching experience.
But Ollie, who reiterated late last week his desire to remain in Storrs, is doing just that.
“Like I always say, I am here with UConn right now and trying to work things out with our great university,” he said on Friday. “I am UConn made and I want to be here for a long time.”
And Jim Calhoun, the Hall of Fame coach who tabbed Ollie as his successor, said over the weekend that while it's nice to be pursued, he never expected Ollie to leave.
"He’d be foolish if he didn’t explore,” Calhoun said, via the New Haven Register's David Borges, “but I think he’s going to be the coach at UConn. Kevin needs to weigh everything at the time – how you feel, what’s right for your family, what’s right for you, what the future holds. I’m sure Kevin doesn’t want to go through this every year. UConn’s gonna be UConn, and they’re gonna pay him exceptionally well.”
And that's exactly what happened. Added bonus: UConn's recruiting should benefit, too.
"In a bizarre sort of way. kids may like that a guy they may go for is being thought of so well in the NBA," Calhoun said. "For these kids, the NBA is the end-all.”