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Kevin has always been a great listener,” associate head coach George Blaney said. “He’s a potential superstar as a coach, no doubt about that. Sure he’ll be different than Jim, but there was only one Jim Calhoun.”

Several former UConn players were there to see one of their own become coach.

Kemba Walker, who led UConn to the national championship with an incredible 11-game run in 2010-11, isn’t worried in the least.

“He’s one of the toughest guys I know,” said Walker, who plays for the Charlotte Bobcats. “Kevin’s UConn just like Coach is UConn. It’s not one person here. It’s everybody who played here. We are a family and it will stay that way.”

Connecticut has never faced a season like this one.

It will have its first new head coach in 26 years and he is only guaranteed seven months on the job. There are only five players returning who saw significant playing time last season. There will be no postseason play at all. Those factors should make the job as tough as any faced by a coach in Division I.

Don’t tell that to Ollie.

“I told my players this morning, `It’s all stairs now. No escalators,’ `’ he said. “Escalators are for cowards. Every day now will be one step at a time.”