Ex-NBA role player-turned-coach tastes succe$$ in college basketball


kevin-ollie-uconnFormer NBA player Kevin Ollie didn’t gain a lot of success in the NBA. He played in 662 NBA games (100 started), averaging 3.8 ppg and 2.3 apg for the career.

However, after becoming UConn’s basketball coach, Ollie has been doing great. Ollie spent the the majority of the biggest game of his short college coaching career Monday night, a 60-54 victory over Kentucky.

Ollie proved himself as his Huskies defeated the opponents, winning the national championship.

From 1991-95, he wore a UConn uniform as a standout defender. Then it was off to the NBA for a long career as a role player before he returned to UConn for two years as an assistant. Jim Calhoun hand-picked him as his successor, NY Times reported.

Maybe Ollie will start a new trend in college basketball: a longtime NBA player taking over a program. He was in the NBA for 12 seasons changing teams 12 times. Never a star but always wanted. His best scoring season was 8.0 points per game with Seattle in 2002-03.

“You know what he was doing while he was playing?” Kentucky coach John Calipari asked Sunday. “He was coaching. That’s how he played. He was an unbelievable student of the game.”

In only his second season as head coach he won it all. Steve Fisher is the only coach to win the title in his first season, with Michigan as an interim coach in 1989.

Technically, Ollie did it in his first chance. The Huskies were ineligible for postseason play in 2012-13 over academic issues before he or these players got to Storrs. The players could have transferred.

They stayed and won the school’s fourth national championship as a No. 7 seed after finishing tied for third in the American Athletic Conference and entering the tournament with a 26-8 record.

“I told you, a lot of people was picking against us and doubting us, but I told you the last would be the first,” Ollie said. “We are first now. Last year we were last. We couldn’t get in the tournament, but they kept believing. That’s what it’s all about.”

Not only did Ollie restore a sense of pride to the UConn men’s basketball program by leading the Huskies to the national championship Monday night, he put a little more money in his wallet, the Courant reported.

Ollie’s contract, which is a public record, calls for him to be compensated for certain postseason achievements. His base salary is $400,000 for the 2014 calendar year, which means $33,333.33 a month.

Considering his achievements, he’d get $166,666.66. And that’s not all.

He would have received another half month’s salary, or $16,666.66, if he had been named coach of the year by one or more of the following groups: Associated Press, U.S. Basketball Writers of America, National Association of Basketball Coaches, Naismith Trophy, CBS/Chevrolet, The Sporting News or Basketball Times.


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