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Calhoun reveals he had cancer surgery in May
Question of the Day
HARTFORD, CONN. (AP) - Former Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun revealed on Monday that he had surgery in May to remove an apparent cancerous growth from his lungs.
Calhoun told YES that doctors removed the growth, concerned it might be related to a previous skin cancer.
Reached later by telephone, Calhoun was asked to clarify whether the growth was cancer.
“It was cancer-related, yes,” he told The Associated Press. “I’m not going to talk about it. I was out for a day and a half. I’m completely healthy now.”
Calhoun, who also had spinal surgery in February, retired in September weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured hip suffered in an August bicycling accident.
The three surgeries “took a toll on my body,” Calhoun told YES, “and I was tired. Now, the energy level I feel is much different.”
The 70-year-old Calhoun, who is still using a cane while recovering from that surgery, also told YES that he has not completely ruled out a return to coaching.
“I would never say never,” Calhoun told YES.
Calhoun was 873-380 in 40 seasons as a head coach, 26 of them at Connecticut, the other 14 at Northeastern.
Calhoun led UConn to national titles in 1999, 2004 and 2011, an NIT championship in 1988, 10 Big East regular-season championships and seven Big East Tournament titles. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.
But along the way, he suffered from a string of health problems.
He is a three-time cancer survivor, overcoming prostate cancer in 2003 and skin cancer twice, most recently in 2008. He missed 29 games over his 40-year career because of various medical conditions and had to leave another 11 games for medical reasons.
Calhoun missed eight games last season because of the effects of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spine, normally associated with aging and sometimes with arthritis, which led to surgery to have a disk fragment removed from his spine.
He returned to the sideline just five days after that operation.
In 1999, Calhoun coached the Huskies to a 34-2 record and their first NCAA championship, a 77-74 upset over Duke.
In 2004, the Huskies started and ended the season at No. 1, beating Georgia Tech in the NCAA championship game 82-73. The Huskies, led by Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon, won their six tournament games by an average of over 17 points.
In 2011, the Huskies, led by Kemba Walker, finished the regular season in ninth place in the Big East before reeling off a remarkable 11 consecutive wins during the postseason, including a 53-41 victory over Butler in the national championship game.
Calhoun is currently serving as a special assistant to the athletic director at UConn, and among other things is helping raise money for the school to build a $40-million training facility, with construction slated to begin in the spring.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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