Old-School Calhoun Worth Every Penny

By now, you’ve probably seen clips of Jim Calhoun’s press conference following the Huskies’ victory over South Florida on Saturday night.  Freelance reporter Ken Krayeske decided to grill Coach Calhoun about his status as the highest paid state employee in these tough economic times.  Coach Calhoun acquitted himself well, handled the reporter and added some of his old-school toughness, inviting Krayeske to “talk to me outside.”

Since Krayeske brought it up, let’s examine a few of the reasons why Coach Calhoun is worth every penny that he is paid:

calhoun_184_2_extraShow me the money

Calhoun estimates that UConn basketball brings in $12 million to the school.  Sounds like a healthy return on a $1.6 million investment.  But Calhoun and UConn basketball also played  a significant role in these multi-million contracts that UConn secured in 2008:

Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty

Calhoun has been at UConn for 22 seasons.  His success – he is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame , has won two national championships, and has sent a host of players to the NBA- has provided him the opportunity to coach at almost any school in the country, but he has stayed at Storrs.

Connecticut Pride

Having moved to Connecticut about a decade ago, I was astounded by the popularity of UConn basketball.  Connecticut may lack a professional sports team, but UConn has filled that void.  UConn basketball is an immense source of pride for most Connecticut residents.  UConn’s AD Jeff Hathaway said it best, as quoted by the Connecticut Post’s Chris Elsberry:

It gave the university community and it gave the state of Connecticut something to embrace, something to wrap their arms around, whether you were an alumni of the university or just a fan or friend.  That success gave people something to believe in and call their own, and in so many ways became the pride of the state of Connecticut.

UConn Football

Do you think UConn would have made the move to Division I football if the university hadn’t experienced success on the basketball court?  Would UConn be planning a trip to Notre Dame this season, preparing for a series with Tennessee and filling Rentschler Field without the previous success of UConn basketball?

Connecticut certainly faces significant economic problems.  Coach Calhoun’s contract is certainly not one of those problems.  And if you think that he is, perhaps you should step outside and talk to him about it.

Comments

  1. Ben Berger says:

    Dan:

    Spot on. Calhoun can be a pain for the press to deal with, but in this case, the “reporter” was out of line at a post game press conference. Calhoun has made the state tons of money, and while the efficacy of paying a coach so much can certainly be questioned, his economic impact should not be.

  2. Well said. Great analysis. This guy should read your website and understand that Calhoun has a contract. He just stated on ESPN radio that Calhoun is no different than a state worker – yeah he is, Calhoun is not an at will employee and is entitled to gain the benefit of his contracted for bargain.

  3. I’m not even sure what Calhoun brings to the table can even be measured in dollars anyway. Sure there’s a balance sheet that can be drawn up that shows he’s worth every penny, but I think he’s worth more than just the numbers.

    Seriously, try and imagine UCONN without Calhoon. Heck try and imagine Connecticut without him.

  4. John Freire says:

    Jim Calhoun should leave basketball immedidately…….and run for the US Senate to replace one a-hole Chris Dodd. At least Calhoun has the guts to speak his mind, be sincere, even be emotional. He has the respect of most of state of Conecticut as apposed to Dodd. He tore the little a-hole a new one and needed it. GO JIM!

  5. Michael Nichols says:

    Very well said. To quantify’s Calhoun’s fiscal impact on the University (not to mention how his impact helped set the school’s academic renaissance into motion) is nearly impossible.

  6. I do think you need to point out that Calhoun’s $12 million figure was entirely inaccurate. The Courant breaks down the math here:

    http://blogs.courant.com/capitol_watch/2009/02/uconn-mens-basketball-not-12-m.html

    True, the basketball program affects the stature of the University. But the b-ball program itself may be a money LOSER when everything’s added up.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] to win 800 games.  Nevertheless, people around the state, and the country, continue to discuss Coach Calhoun’s clash with a reporter during a post-game press conference last Saturday night.  In fact, some members of the Connecticut […]

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