STORRS - The University of Connecticut issued a statement today saying they were moving to terminate men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie. After winning an NCAA championship in his first year, Ollie's teams have struggled, with back-to-back losing seasons the past two years.
Below is the statement issued by the UConn Division of Athletics:
University of Connecticut Department of Athletics Statement on Head Men’s Basketball Coach Kevin Ollie:
The University of Connecticut has initiated disciplinary procedures to terminate the employment of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Kevin Ollie for just cause. The University will have no further comment on the matter until the completion of both the University’s disciplinary process and the ongoing NCAA investigation.
University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst
“The men’s basketball program has a proud history and a tradition of excellence. Our goal, above all, is to ensure we have a program that UConn Nation can be proud of, including our students, alumni, fans, and all our committed supporters.”
Director of Athletics David Benedict
“It is unfortunate that this decision became necessary. As with all of our programs, we hold men’s basketball to the highest standards. We will begin a national search immediately to identify our next head coach.”
In January, UConn confirmed that the men's basketball program was the subject of an NCAA investigation. Coach Kevin Ollie is in the second year of a five-year $17.9-million contract that can be voided for “just cause.” He signed the contract amid reports he was a candidate for several NBA jobs. He is not owed the remainder of his contract if fired for just cause, which would include committing serious NCAA violations.
Ollie spent six seasons at UConn and was an assistant under Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun on the 2011 NCAA title team. The team went 14-18 this season, including 7-11 in the American Athletic Conference. Ollie's career record at UConn is 127-79.
He played point guard for Calhoun from 1991-95 and played 13 seasons in the NBA before joining the UConn staff in 2010. He was his former coach's hand-picked successor.
Ollie guided the team to a 20-win season in his first year as coach, even though the program had been declared academically ineligible for postseason play.
UConn was a seventh seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. It made an improbable six-game run, culminating with a 60-54 in over Kentucky in the national championship game.
The Huskies went 20-15 the following season, losing in the NIT and bounced back with a 25-11 season in 2015-16, losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
But UConn went 16-17 a year ago and followed that with another losing one. The Huskies have been plagued by injuries and other issues. Touted point guard Alterique Gilbert has played just nine games over two seasons because of shoulder problems. VCU transfer Terry Larrier missed most of last season with a knee injury and has been hampered this year with a fractured sinus wall.
The NCAA also ruled that recruit Sidney Wilson had to sit out the season as a transfer after taking summer courses at St. John's.