STORRS — There will be a new man in command in "The Bunker," but the supporting cast will remain the same.
"I've got the best staff in America," said
In taking over for
Under Calhoun, 70, who savored the long brainstorming sessions in
"I'm going to be here and help Kevin any way I can," said Blaney, who remains as associate head coach. "I'm going to offer something when I think it can be productive."
Although Ollie's one-year contract could make recruiting more challenging, the Huskies will now have more boots on the ground. Blaney, who joined the staff in 2004, does not play a large role in recruiting and Calhoun had curtailed his traveling, leaving Ollie and Miller to cover the country and, at times, the planet, where most other schools have three assistants on the road. This past spring and summer, Calhoun did more traveling, but that came to a halt when he fractured his hip on Aug. 4.
As director of basketball administration, Hobbs was involved mainly in NCAA compliance and other off-the-court matters; he was not allowed to participate in recruiting, nor in coaching, except when Calhoun missed time last season and UConn was granted a waiver to add him.
There was some discussion of moving Hobbs to an assistant's position, with Blaney assuming a different title, but that would have taken Blaney from something he loves — participating in practice.
Now that Calhoun has retired, the staff falls into comfortable roles. Ollie, Miller and Hobbs, now an assistant, will all be recruiting, and their task will be to convince recruits that Ollie will earn the chance to stay on the job long-term. They'll be on the road soon, too, with days lost and trips postponed this week as the details of the coaching transition were worked out.
"I'm excited," Hobbs said. "My job will mostly be in the recruiting aspect. … I think, having been a head coach, it made me a better assistant, because I knew what kind of things were irritating for a head coach. And since I've come back, I never had one complaint from Jim [Calhoun]."
Coincidentally, Hobbs was an assistant coach when Ollie was playing for UConn in the mid-1990s, but he doesn't expect an awkward moment.
"I'm very enthusiastic about having Kevin," Hobbs said. "I think the beauty is that Coach Calhoun has left a legacy and a foundation, and so there is a foundation that can be built upon and Kevin is the right choice, in my opinion, for the simple fact that he's the greatest motivator out there."