And now he's going to have to work harder than ever, replacing a legend,
Calhoun, 70, is retiring — there will be a news conference Thursday in Storrs at 2 p.m. — and Ollie is stepping in.
Ollie, 39, played for Calhoun, had a long
"Kevin [Ollie] is a great role model," former UConn star
Allen and Ollie played together for Calhoun in the early to mid-1990s.
"He started out in the
Ollie was a two-time captain at UConn who averaged 9.8 points and 6.7 assists his final season, 1994-95. His career totals were 6.7 points, 5.0 assists. He ended up playing 13 seasons for 12 teams in the NBA, his last season with the
He realized he did not have the talent of others, but he had the desire.
Another former UConn player, Kevin Freeman, told The Courant about legendary Ollie workouts.
"He would work out 2½ hours and then go to the weight room," Freeman says. "You mention anybody you want,
Ollie simply said, "I knew I couldn't take short cuts, I couldn't miss a day."
That is what he will expect from his players, which falls into the Calhoun line of thinking.
Since going back to UConn, Ollie has put players through some grueling offseason workouts.
Guard Ryan Boatright, of whom much will be expected this season, called them "the toughest workout I've ever had. The word I'd use for it, 'crazy.'"
That might be a word to describe Ollie's NBA career: stops in Dallas, Orlando, Sacramento, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Chicago, Indiana, Milwaukee, Seattle, Cleveland, Minnesota and Oklahoma City. He often played for more than one team in a season early on, cut by one squad and picked up by another. His first season was 1997-98; his final one was 2009-10. The year 1999 alone sums up his early struggles to stick in the NBA: Signed as a free agent in January with the
Before he made it to the NBA, he played for the Connecticut Pride of the Continental Basketball Association and the Connecticut Skyhawks of the
"I'd love to be in [Allen's] position, but I've got to plug away," Ollie said in 1996. "I've got to live Kevin Ollie's life, and I wouldn't trade it with anyone. And when I get up [to the NBA], I'll appreciate it even more because I worked so hard to get there."