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Kevin Ollie to join Brooklyn Nets as assistant coach

The former UConn head coach is back in the NBA.

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Ollie is returning to the NBA as an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets next season, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Ollie, who played at UConn from 1991-1995 and helped lead the Huskies as head coach to their fourth national title in 2014, is back in the NBA after spending the previous two years as head of coaching and basketball development of Overtime Elite. Prior to joining the Nets, Ollie was rumored to be a finalist for the Detroit Pistons’ head coaching vacancy, but that job was filled by Monty Williams.

Prior to coaching at UConn, Ollie scrapped together a 13-year NBA career with 11 different organizations after going undrafted in 1995. He retired from the NBA in 2010 to take a position alongside Jim Calhoun as an assistant coach, which he held for two seasons before Calhoun retired and Ollie was named as his successor. After navigating a postseason ban in his first year as head coach, Ollie helped the Huskies to title No. 4 in 2014 in their first year of the American Athletic Conference.

Ollie would win just one more NCAA tournament game in four additional seasons as head coach, and back-to-back losing seasons from 2016-2018 led to UConn firing Ollie, citing just cause due to numerous NCAA violations and hoping to avoid paying his $10 million buyout. Ollie disputed the claim and took UConn to arbitration, which he won in 2022 after a lengthy battle with the university, awarding him $11.2 million and further fracturing an already shaky relationship between Ollie and the university.

At Overtime Elite, Ollie helped the program expand to six teams and over 70 players, including some of the top high school prospects in the country. He stepped down from his position with OTE in March of 2023 and handed the reigns to former UConn assistant and DePaul head coach Dave Leitao. Prior to coming to UConn, Ollie had never coached at any level, but was well respected within NBA circles as a veteran presence and valuable locker room asset.