Jim Calhoun may have been retired for the past five years, but that doesn’t mean he’s done coaching forever.
According to Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant, the three-time national champion and UConn Huskies legend has had “serious discussions” about coming on to serve as the inaugural men’s basketball coach at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, who will begin playing Division III basketball in 2018 as the school admits male students for the first time.
"We will let coach's comments stand on their own," St. Joseph president Rhona Free said in a statement released by a school spokesperson. "While we certainly can't think of a better person to inaugurate the University of St. Joseph's first-ever men's basketball team, right now we have nothing to announce."
Rumors of Calhoun returning to coaching have ranged from plausible, like following the Larry Brown route in 2014, to ridiculous (looking at you, BC) and everywhere in between, but there hasn’t been one like this that makes some sort of sense for both parties.
St. Joseph could have one of the game’s legendary coaches serve as the face of its young program, and there’s a good chance that will lead to more publicity, money and better players than the average Division III school. Few programs in the country can say they have a coach on the sidelines with more than 800 wins and three national titles at the Division I level.
Calhoun, 75, can return to the rhythm of coaching in the state he made his name and can still remain involved with the UConn program and his philanthropic events. An opportunity at a smaller Division III school like St. Joseph allows him to lay the foundation for a brand-new program and get back in the coaching game with much lower stakes than UConn or any other Division I program. UConn fans know that Calhoun can build programs like no other.
It is unclear how accepting this position would affect Calhoun’s current relationship with UConn, where he has one year remaining on a five-year contract he received following his retirement as the Huskies’ men’s basketball coach. Regardless of this, St. Joseph’s location in West Hartford allows Calhoun to still be close to the school that he coached for 26 seasons.
Should Calhoun take the job, it’s impossible to say how long he would keep the position, but it would be an interesting way for the Hall of Famer to finish off his career. And with UConn usually opening its season against teams with coaches that have UConn ties, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see Calhoun on the sideline as a visitor for an exhibition game at Gampel in a few years.