Jim Calhoun remains mum on future at UConn

Jim Calhoun told graduates of the high school where he coached
and taught that ”the best years are ahead of you.” Still, he
wouldn’t say how he would spend his own future.

After speaking at commencement ceremonies at Dedham High School
on Wednesday, the coach of NCAA champion Huskies said he hadn’t
decided whether to return to the job he has held since 1986.

”I’m not even thinking about that,” Calhoun said in an
interview. ”I’m just thinking about coming home.”

Home, at least on Wednesday, was the town where he lived for 11
years and the school where he had his first real coaching success,
going 20-1 in 1970-71 and 21-1 the following season when his team
went to the state Division I semifinals.

He was just 28 when he got his first college coaching job in
1972 at Northeastern, guiding the team to four NCAA

A native of the Boston suburb of Braintree, Calhoun threw out
the ceremonial first pitch on April 9 at the Red Sox home opener
against the New York Yankees. Just five days earlier, his Huskies
beat Butler 53-41 to win their third national title.

”I can guarantee you I haven’t made my mind up in any way,” he
said minutes after tossing that pitch. ”I’m just going to try to
get this team ready for next year and we’ll see what happens.”

Nearly two months later, his message – at least about his plans
– was the same.

Calhoun said he enjoyed driving around Dedham by himself for
several hours Wednesday and spending time with 11 of the 15 members
of his 1971-72 team at Dedham High.

He was ”touched,” he said, by the invitation by the Dedham
High senior class and agreed in January to speak at the ceremonies,
well before the late-season run that led to the Huskies’ title.

The weather interfered with the original plans for the
graduation ceremony. Thunder and lightning shortly before the
scheduled late afternoon start forced graduates and guests indoors
into the main building of the Endicott Estate, a sprawling 15-acre
site owned by the town of Dedham.

After graduates accepted their diplomas on the porch, Calhoun
gave a shortened version of the speech he had planned.

He told the seniors their graduation marked a beginning, not an
end, and ”I envy you for all the things that are ahead of

And ”you start with a clean slate,” he said. ”Don’t let them
buttonhole you.”

He pointed to the passion of Connecticut point guard Kemba
Walker, ”the joy with which he played basketball and the
determination that allowed him to graduate in three years.”

Then, just before finishing, Calhoun said, ”There’s a lot of
things I still want to do. So I better get off this porch before I
get hit by lightning.”