Calhoun expected at UConn practice
After what Jim Calhoun went through on Friday, running
Connecticut’s first real practice will be a nice respite.
The coach and other university officials met with NCAA
investigators for more than 12 hours on Friday, hoping to convince
them that the school has done enough to punish itself for
recruiting violations in the men’s basketball program.
President Philip Austin, athletic director Jeff Hathaway and
Calhoun testified before the NCAA’s committee on infractions. A
drained Calhoun offered no comment as he headed for the hotel’s
exit at about 10 p.m. Friday. He is expected to lead Saturday’s
The hearing kept Calhoun from joining his team for its ”First
Night” event, a joint celebration with the national champion
women’s team to mark the start of practice.
”We all know the situation with Calhoun, and we all wish him
luck with everything,” said freshman guard Shabazz Napier.
Back in Storrs, Conn., about 7,000 fans gathered in Gampel
Pavilion to watch both the men’s and women’s basketball teams
participate in the ”First Night” event.
Women’s coach Geno Auriemma said he didn’t think Calhoun’s
issues would affect players’ decisions to come to the school, nor
the image of UConn as a basketball power.
”If you can put a good product on the floor, do it the right
way and when blips come or bumps in the road come and you handle
them like we’re handling it now, I think people appreciate that,”
Many of the fans agreed, some wondering what the fuss was all
”If anyone’s got any brains, this shouldn’t affect nothing,”
said Robert Mely, a 48-year-old fan from East Haven, Conn. ”As far
as I’m concerned they should just leave the guy alone to do what he
Not everyone agreed.
”I think it’s time for Calhoun to seriously think about
retiring,” said James Heintz, a 64-year-old fan from Killingworth,
Conn. ”He’s had his day. He had a great run, but now he’s bringing
the program down.”
Associated Press Writer Pat Eaton-Robb contributed to this
report from Storrs, Conn.