Kevin Ollie, UConn’s National Championship-winning wunderkind, the hand-picked successor to Jim Calhoun and once the hottest name in the coaching market has been fired by the Huskies.
A move that would’ve seemed stunning two years ago was all but inevitable after the 45-year-old oversaw three straight subpar seasons in Storrs.
Perhaps the most unexpected part of this move is UConn’s decision to fire Ollie with cause, which in all likelihood will be contested by Ollie’s camp. UConn will probably argue an NCAA investigation into Ollie’s recruiting practices justifies the firing.
"The University of Connecticut has initiated disciplinary procedures to terminate the employment of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Kevin Ollie for just cause. The University will have no further comment on the matter until the completion of both the University’s disciplinary process
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) March 10, 2018
Ollie stands to earn a $10.6 million buyout if he is fired without cause after signing a five-year extension in 2016, per CTPost.com.
UConn has missed the NCAA Tournament in three of the last four years after winning the title in 2014 with the likes of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatwright. This year, the Huskies (14-18, 7-11) were bounced from the American Athletic Conference Tournament in the first round to SMU. Despite recruiting numerous four-star players over the past few years, Ollie’s coaching style left a lot to be desired. His isolation-heavy offense made it easy for defenses to key in on the Huskies’ guards.
After winning the 2014 title, Ollie was considered a rising NBA coaching prospect with numerous rumors flying of college and pro teams trying to pry him away from his alma mater to no avail.
It’s a stunning fall for a young coach who achieved numerous accolades and respect in his first two years on the job, but has gone 75-61 since. Whether or not UConn is able to fire Ollie with cause may determine how quickly he is able to land another job on the bench.
In any case, he’ll have a lot of work to do to regain the national stature he had only a few years ago.
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