UConn men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun retiring

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UConn finished the year 20-14, losing to Iowa State in the first-round of the NCAA tournament.

In addition to his medical leave, Calhoun served a three-game suspension at the start of the Big East season last winter for failing to maintain an atmosphere of compliance in his program with NCAA rules, an issued that dated to recruiting violations in 2008.

A native of Braintree, Mass., Calhoun played college basketball at American International in Springfield, where he was a team captain and leading scorer his junior and senior years.

After coaching in high school in Connecticut and Massachusetts, he was hired to coach Northeastern in 1972.

Calhoun spent the next 14 years at the school, transforming the team from Division II program to a mid-major power with five appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Calhoun was hired by UConn in May 1986 and won an NIT title in his second season. His teams won 10 Big East regular-season championships and seven Big East Tournament titles.

In 1999, he 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.

In 2011, UConn finished the regular season in ninth place in the Big East before reeling off a remarkable 11-game run in the postseason, including a 53-41 victory over Butler in the national championship game.

Calhoun’s only loss in the Final Four came in 2009 to Michigan State in the national semifinals. The coach missed the Huskies’ first NCAA tournament game that season after being hospitalized for dehydration.

It was one of several health issues that marked his time at UConn, where he missed 29 games, and left another 11 because of illness. He successfully battled prostate cancer in 2003 and skin cancer twice, most recently in 2008.

Calhoun also was hospitalized in 2009 after breaking several ribs during a charity bike ride and he missed seven games in the 2009-10 season for an undisclosed stress-related medical reason.

In May 2010, the program was cited by the NCAA for eight major rules violations. The allegations came at the end of a 15-month investigation into the recruiting of former player Nate Miles, who was expelled from UConn in October 2008 without ever playing for the Huskies.

Besides accusations that his staff improperly contacted recruits, gave them improper benefits and distributed free tickets to high school coaches and others, Calhoun was cited for failing to maintain an atmosphere of compliance.

The accusations led to the resignations of two assistants, and a promise from Calhoun to make things right. He told reporters that the idea of bringing closure to that issue was a “major, major factor” in his decision to come back after the 2011 championship season.

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