Kevin Ollie was heralded at Connecticut as Jim Calhoun’s handpicked successor when he took the program’s reins in 2012. He was an energetic recruiter, a sound Xs-and-Os coach and a U-Conn. alumnus who would continue the Huskies’ era of basketball glory.
Four years after Ollie and the Huskies cut down the nets as the NCAA tournament champions of 2014, Connecticut announced Saturday it was dismissing the coach for cause.
The NCAA announced in January that it was probing Ollie’s recruiting practices, and come Selection Sunday, the Huskies (14-18) will have missed three of the past four NCAA tournaments.
Since claiming the national championship, Connecticut’s only trip beyond the tournament’s first weekend under Ollie, the Huskies have a 75-61 record.
“It is unfortunate that this decision became necessary,” U-Conn. Athletic Director David Benedict said. “As with all of our programs, we hold men’s basketball to the highest standards. We will begin a national search immediately to identify our next head coach.”
The move thrusts Connecticut into a turbulent market to land its next coach, given the FBI’s pay-for-play investigation of recruiting tactics. That inquiry has already felled Rick Pitino at Louisville and put a number of current and former coaches under scrutiny.